Taran Swan at Nickelodeon Latin America
Nickelodeon is a cable channel for kids 2-11 years old. It started out in the US in 1979. Nickelodeon produced cartoons, live action, comedy, drama, music, sports and game shows. In 1996 it was the most popular kid’s TV channel in the US. The international channels had their own names, but relied on US programs that were voiced over. The channels were launched by a team from corporate the company called the Nickelodeon International Swat Team. They would build the channel and transition it to local management. By 1998 Nickelodeon was in more than 30 countries.
While Taran Swan was the director of Business Development for Nickelodeon ...view middle of the document...
She would not be able to hire anyone new without approval with the exception of her swat team.
Swan was worried that the staff at MTV was used to a very different brand and would have trouble with the kid’s channel. Managing this new team was difficult. Selling the channel was difficult because Swan could not compromise on the price or quality, but many distributors had a monopoly and negotiations were challenging.
The number of cable channels was increasing, there was a lack of accurate market data, and only 10% of the population had cable. This made selling to advertisers difficult. The team decided to launch two separate feeds to allow advertisers to target more local markets. Swan had to build the brand in a crowded market. A member of her team, Friedman, suggested spending a good deal of the advertisement budget through a kid party at Jornadas, the cable trade show. She also decided to do “Grow Down” workshops to build the brand.
Finally, in September 1996 Nickelodeon Latin America achieved its minimum distribution targets and Swan was awarded full corporate approval. Unlike Germany, Swan was asked to stay another two years. She was happy to stay and began to hire her team. She then went on to programming the channel. On December 20 1996, Nickelodeon Latin America launched a 24-hour channel in Spanish, Portuguese, and English that reached over 2 million subscribers in 16 countries.
Swan ran into a problem when advertising sales were slow. She decided that having the same sales people for MTV and Nickelodeon was not working. She reorganized the sales team, but the implementation was not smooth due to problems between the new managers. Swan was focused on the bottom line, mostly the business plan she had developed. She hired Rey del Valle from Federal Express to head the finance department.
Swan had built the channel and had hired new people to manage various parts of the team. There was some tension between managers. Some of managers were new to the industry, some were from MTV and others were Nickelodeon. Different styles and personalities became a challenge for Swan to manage.
Swan had developed the channel from the envisioning phase in the early beginning to a strong second-year, up and running network. Swan’s enthusiasm and philosophy of open communication and ownership of tasks had brought the Nickelodeon team together. Latin America was very segmented. Regional dialects, customs and languages needed required attention. Rey del Valle was brought in from Fedex to help keep the network on budget. Even though he had no experience in entertainment, Swan was particularly concerned with the bottom line. With this move, and others, money was being spent on gambles but the reasoning behind them was well informed. Investments in quantitative and qualitative studies were recommended by Del Valle, further aligning them with their immersive business strategy.
The sharing of employees between Nickelodeon and MTV...