SpongeBob gets into fintech as Viacom partners with Osper on prepaid debit cards for young people

SpongeBob, Nickelodeon Slime, and JoJo Siwa are just some of the ViacomCBS children’s brands making the move into the fintech space thanks to a new partnership with the parent-managed debit card company for young people, Osper.

Under the pairing, popular IP from the ViacomCBS stable will feature across a series of prepaid debit cards for under 18 year olds, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Nickelodeon’s Slime, and SpongeBob Squarepants. Both Osper and ViacomCBS Consumer Products UK will also work together on a range of co-branded financial education assets for kids.

The move arrives as contactless payments now represent the dominant form of payment on the high street and the belief that young people risk being financially excluded from the shift if they are limited to using cash. Osper allows young people access to their own contactless prepaid debt card, which can be topped up, monitored, and managed by parents via an app.

Osper also automatically blocks payments for age restricted services and gives the option to turn off online spending, giving parents full control of their children’s spending.

“While young people are at the forefront of many of the world’s positive changes, they too face real challenges from the fast pace of change around them,” said Venetia Davie, vice president, ViacomCBS Consumer Products UK & Ireland.

“We believe passionately in supporting today’s children and this partnership is part of that commitment. We’re delighted to be working with Osper to use the reach and engagement of globally recognised properties such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to help give young people the education and tools necessary to deal with money in an increasingly contactless and digital world.”

Giovanni Santini, CEO of Osper, added: “By the age of eight, two things are happening – children are already learning lifelong financial behaviours, and they’re enthused, informed and entertained by world class content from Nickelodeon.

“At Osper we have always been focused on giving young people access to payments that are secure and safe – both online and contactless – combined with the knowledge and education needed to understand money and finance. This partnership will be transformative in increasing the accessibility of young people to develop positive financial habits that will shape their view of money for the rest of their lives.

“We’re proud to be working with not just a world-leading kids’ entertainment brand, but with a team who share the same values and ambition.”

Edoardo Volta, head of fintech UK and Ireland at Mastercard, said: “Young people today are digital natives and most take a ‘digital first’ approach to whatever they are doing, and this is no different for payments. So it is more important than ever that they have the right tools to stay in control of their money and make payments safely, securely and conveniently.”

The partnership will see Osper and ViacomCBS Consumer Products working together to deliver co-branded educational materials to help children understand money and develop positive financial habits.

Osper customers will also be able to apply for their own prepaid debit card featuring some of Nickelodeon’s most iconic kids’ brands such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Nickelodeon Slime and Jojo Siwa. Reaching over 13 million homes in the UK, Nickelodeon will promote these co-branded offers across its TV, online and social channels.

SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol to boost presence across Japan in major new Rakuten partnership for Nickelodeon

SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will each be bolstering their presence across the Japanese market thanks to a new partnership between ViacomCBS Networks International and Rakuten Group.

The long-term agreement will kick off with the launch of Nick+ – Nickelodeon’s kids’ streaming service – on Rakuten’s video on demand platform, Rakuten TV across Japan, covering mobile, web, and Smart TV devices.

The pairing will also include the creation of a dedicated Nickelodeon zone on Japan’s e-commerce platform. Rakuten Ichiba.

“This long-term agreement with Rakuten, a key player in the media and e-commerce industry, connects the world of streaming to the world of consumer products for the first time. The integration of Nick+ and the Nickelodeon digital storefront into the Rakuten Ecosystem will enable us to create an interconnected Nickelodeon experience for consumers and leverage strategic cross-platform promotional opportunities,” said Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International.

“This innovative deal is testament to ViacomCBS’ expertise in developing unique and versatile partnerships and it will allow us to explore additional collaboration opportunities outside of Asia.”

Koji Ando, Rakuten group managing executive officer and senior vice president of Rakuten’s communications and energy company, added: “We are very excited to partner with ViacomCBS Networks International to bring their iconic brands and top-tier content to new audiences through our streaming and e-commerce platforms.

“Through these new initiatives, families across the country will have even more reasons to engage with our services and enjoy the rich customer experience of the Rakuten Ecosystem. We look forward to building on this partnership to deliver even more entertaining content and initiatives in the future.”

Nick+, a subscription service, is planned for launch on Rakuten TV on April 28, 2021, bringing many of the most popular series from the Nickelodeon library to Japanese audiences. Kids and families will be able to watch on demand favorite shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues & You!, Deer Squad, The Loud House, Game Shakers, The Thundermans and more.

In addition to hit kids and family entertainment via the Nick+ service, Rakuten will host the first Nickelodeon digital storefront in Asia on the Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall in Japan. Showcasing a collection of select Nickelodeon products from multiple merchants, Japanese audiences will be able to purchase products featuring some of the brand’s favourite characters from franchises such as SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the new dedicated e-commerce zone on Rakuten Ichiba.

Products will cover multiple categories, including fashion, stationery and collectibles.

Nick+ will be available on Rakuten TV’s official site and mobile app, STB/dongle, web and Smart TV devices as of April 28, while the digital Nickelodeon storefront on Rakuten Ichiba is planned for launch in May 2021.

Fanattik lands Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gift license in pan-European deal

The pop culture specialist, Fanattik, has signed a pan-European gift license with ViacomCBS Consumer Products to develop and launch a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-inspired collection.

The new range will span home decor, barware, gifts, and collectables, all of which will be available from June this year in shops across Europe.

Considered one of the most popular kids’ TV programmes of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird when it made its debut as a successful comic book series before becoming an animated TV series, a live-action TV series, and later spawning four blockbuster movie releases.

“From the comic books in the ’80s to the films of the ’90s and the more recent animated series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a brand with real heritage,” said Anthony Marks, MD, Fanattik.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been translated into a significant consumer products business with toys, apparel, home goods, video games, DVDs and more generating millions at retail.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a top selling action figure and the franchise is a previous recipient of the Toy Industry Association’s top honour for Property of the Year at the TOTY Awards.

“The whole creative team is so looking forward to working on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With over 90 per cent brand recognition with both male and females under the age of 55 and such a well engaged fan base, the Fanattik team understands that we need to create a range that will appeal fans both new and old,” said Melissa Tudor, head of product development at Fanattik.

“Before it was announced to the team that we had this license the MD bought a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade machine for the office, so we must get this right, otherwise he is going to take it away.”

Mark Kingston, senior vice president, international, ViacomCBS Consumer Products, added: “We’re excited to amplify the Turtles universe with a fully loaded gifting range from Fanattik; with products that will resonate with the broad spectrum of fans from this beloved IP.”

Head of sales, Luiz Ferreira, said: “Fanattik works with all levels of the European gift market so we are asking toy an gift retailers that are not already talking to us to contact myself to book a video appointment so they can learn more about this upcoming Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles range.”

Ferreira can be contacted via Luiz@fanattik.co.uk

Fanattik is a licensee for 20th Century Fox, Microsoft, Capcom, Universal Studios, Capcom, Bethesda, Studio Canal and more.

Fanattik has won numerous awards with the latest being the North West Business Of The Year organised by the Federation of Small Business just prior to Covid.

The Fanattik Jaws bottle opener and Friends premium limited edition pin badge were both nominated for Gift Of The Year 2021.