Nick's 'SpongeBob..' in worldwide licencing programmes

NEW YORK: MTV Networks International has announced the launch of licencing and merchandising programmes for Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants in 11 key international markets.

These are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Mexico, Scandinavia, South Korea, Malaysia and the UK. An official release informs that SpongeBob SquarePants is currently seen in 112 countries, and has remained the number one rated kids' television show in the US for more than a year.

Regionally executed licensing and merchandising activities will commence in this month and include a global deal with Burger King Corporation; and local retail partnerships with Virgin Megastores in the UK; Walmart in Mexico; Target in Australia; Ripley in Chile; and Zellers in Canada.

MTV Networks International executive VP, International Programme Enterprises, Kathleen Hricik was quoted as saying: "SpongeBobs' ratings successes in the US and abroad make it an ideal time to take advantage of the property's brand awareness and launch international licencing and merchandising programmes. Confidence in SpongeBob SquarePants' potential as a long-term franchise property has generated millions of dollars in promotional deals and is the next Nickelodeon property to take our international business to a new level."

A global in-store premium promotion has been signed with fast food giant, Burger King Corporation, spanning over 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

Since its debut on Nickelodeon's US channel in 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has steadily grown from an underground hit with teens and young adults to one of the hottest licenses in the marketplace today, generating more than $750 million in retail sales in the US in 2002 alone.

SpongeBob SquarePants is widely distributed around the world, airing on all Nickelodeon's international channels and major terrestrial broadcasters such as YTV in Canada, TF1 in France, Super RTL in Germany, ITV in the UK, TV New Zealand, Globo TV in Brasil, Televisa in Mexico and Network Ten in Australia.

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