After a few grueling months of submitting applications and conducting interviews, the hard work paid off and I was accepted into the Viacom Summer Internship program in New York City. From May through August 2016, I became a member of the Digital Programming team at Nick Jr., a Nickelodeon pre-school television channel most famous for the hit show, Dora the Explorer. I was thrilled to be placed in a programming department, one of my top choices, and was eager to learn about its importance in the digital age. 

On my first day, I was instantly immersed into my team’s work, learning about the intricacies of Nickelodeon’s programming strategies and its various digital media including iOS, Android, web, tablet, and over-the-top platforms. On a weekly basis, I watched new episodes and grabbed screenshots to use as image tiles across sites and apps, recorded click-through tracking data in order to analyze programming efforts and distinguish success rates, and monitored competitors’ programming patterns. In addition, I was tasked with auditing all 28 Nick Jr. show properties and marked content for removal based on lower performance data.

The most significant component of my internship was a long-term project to create search engine optimization recommendations for the launch of the new Nick Jr. YouTube channel. This process involved recording the video title, description, and keywords of over 500 YouTube videos for a list of targeted search terms, which I then analyzed to rank videos as high as possible in a search engine. I presented my final proposal to the Nick Jr. programming and creative content teams at the end of the summer.

During my internship, I met with many employees from different teams at Viacom, including a production manager at Comedy Central, and the vice president of Viacom Domestic Distribution. My time at Viacom was invaluable and taught me useful professional skills that I will be able to carry with me into my senior year, as well as valuable contacts that will help me begin a career after graduation. I highly recommend the program to all undergraduates seeking an internship in television.

Photo Caption: Caitlin Atkinson (right), UM Media Management senior, with fellow interns at the 2016 Viacom Summer Internship program