Printer Friendly

THQ BRINGING NICKELODEON FAVORITES TO THE WORLD OF INTERACTIVE TOYS CARTOONS GETTING INTO THE GAME.

Byline: Greg Hernandez Staff Writer

CALABASAS - Nickelodeon favorites like ``SpongeBob SquarePants,'' ``The Wild Thornberrys'' and ``Rocket Power'' will be stepping out of television screens this year and into the world of interactive games, joining ``Rugrats'' and ``Jimmy Neutron'' on store shelves.

The all-star line-up is part of a multiyear licensing agreement announced Wednesday between interactive entertainment software developer and publisher THQ Inc. and Nickelodeon, whose many animated features are created at Nickelodeon's Burbank studio. The deal gives THQ exclusive, worldwide interactive rights to publish games based on all existing and future Nickelodeon animated television and movie properties through 2005.

The arrangement is designed to expand the Nickelodeon interactive business with a single company that can jump into the creative process earlier rather than separate deals with various software developers.

Nickelodeon's Steve Youngwood, vice president of media products, called the deal ``mutually beneficial.''

``No one else has taken such an integrated upfront approach before,'' said Youngwood, who oversees interactive, books, video and DVD products. ``We are able to work more closely in advance on the property even before it is on television and able to manage brands better in a retail environment.''

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed but it is said to be in amultimillion-dollar package with several components, including royalties.

``Obviously, it's a piece of business you'd like to see represented going forward and it gives them visibility in the long-term,'' said Jack R. Ripsteen, an analyst with J.P. Morgan in San Francisco. ``It's a pretty good window of time to develop and market titles.''

The companies currently have about 20 new games in development for release this year in various game systems. The properties target kids ages 6 to 11 on game systems manufactured by Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft as well as PC.

Jeff Lapin, THQ's vice chairman and chief operating officer said in a statement that the company is ``delighted to be entering this exceptional relationship during a period of tremendous growth'' for interactive games.

``Our master deal allows us to expand the Nickelodeon interactive business with strategic brand management and greater promotional and marketing support through Nickelodeon's multimedia network,'' Lapin said.

Last year, the companies struck a unique deal that calls for them to develop original characters designed for initial release in the interactive field with the express intent of bringing the property to television and movies in the same fashion as last summer's box office hit ``Lara Croft: Tomb Raider'' based on an already popular game.

On Wednesday, Nickelodeon and THQ announced the first of those two new properties: ``Interstellat P.I.G.,'' based on Nickelodeon's adaptation of William Sleator's 1995 novel of the same name and ``Tak and the Power of JuJu,'' an original character-based action adventure. Both games are scheduled for release next year.

``It's a different kind of sell,'' Youngwood said. ``It's a place we have not been.''

It was in 1998 that THQ and Nickelodeon first broke into the kids gaming market with their first ``Rugrats'' release for Game Boy, PlayStation and Nintendo 64. The teaming has been a success with Nickelodeon-licensed video game sales totaling more than $250 million worldwide.

THQ announced its fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2001, net income grew 32 percent to $28.5 million, or $1.12 per share from $21.5 million, or 99 cents per share a year ago. Sales grew to $196.4 million from $190.9 million a year ago.

For the year 2001, net income increased 50 percent to $36 million, or $1.52 per share, compared with pro forma net income (excluding a May 24, 2000, noncash charge) of $24.1 million, or $1.12 per share for 2000. Net sales for the year increased 9 percent to $379 million from $347 million in 2000.

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 3 -- color) Through a multiyear licensing deal announced Wednesday, Calabasas-based THQ Inc. will bring Nickelodeon favorites ``SpongeBob SquarePants,'' left, ``Rugrats,'' top, and Paramount-Nickelodeon Movies' ``Jimmy Neutron'' to action in new interactive entertainment software.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 14, 2002
Words:670
Previous Article:BRIEFCASE BRIGHTCUBE INKS WORLDPAY ACCORD.
Next Article:REALTY PORTAL TRADING HALTED HOMESTORE MUST REVISE EARNINGS.
Topics:


Related Articles
THQ And Nickelodeon Announce ``Rugrats: Totally Angelica'' for Playstation; Girls, Grab Your Controllers.
THQ and Nickelodeon Ship ``Blues Clues: Blue's Big Musical'' for PlayStation; Top Rated Interactive Preschool Program Makes PlayStation Debut.
THQ Earns Three Spots On the PlayDate 2001 Holiday Hit List.
THQ Ships ``Rugrats: All Growed-Up'' for The PC; The Rugrats Return To PC, This Time ``All Growed Up''!
THQ Ships ``Hot Wheels Burnin' Rubber'' for Game Boy Advance; Top-Selling Toy to Make Its Game Boy Advance Debut.
THQ Named Nickelodeon's Master Interactive Licensee; Exclusive Worldwide Agreement Includes All Existing and Future Individual Properties on Every...
PLAYTIME FOR JAKKS, NICKELODEON CALABASAS FIRM TO PRODUCE LINE OF PRODUCTS FOR NETWORK'S KIDS' SHOWS.
IN BRIEF.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters