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Nickelodeon To Launch Noggin Subscription-Video Service in March

Nickelodeon is tapping into its past to help spark its future.

The Viacom-owned kid-media juggernaut will revive Noggin — once a cable network for preschoolers that was changed to Nick Jr. in 2009 — as a subscription video service delivered via broadband connections. The service, which was recently previewed by Viacom executives during a call with investors, is set to launch March 5.

Noggin arrives as Nickelodeon continues to grapple with ratings declines at its traditional TV network, owing to viewers seeking video content on new kinds of screens.

For the week of February 15, Nickelodeon’s total-day ratings in its core demo of kids between 2 and 11 were off by 35%, according to research from Todd Juenger of Bernstein Research.

Noggin will be free of advertising and will feature content that is not currently on Nickelodeon’s suite of networks. The properties the company can tap into include the series “Blue’s Clues,” which ran on Nickelodeon for a decade, the series “Little Bear,” music videos featuring Nick characters and clips of mascots Moose A. Moose and Zee, a moose-and-bird duo who once held forth on the linear Noggin.

Nickelodeon will seek $5.99 a month from customers. The service will be available in the App Store for iPod, iPhone and iPad. The network said it was in discussions with cable and satellite companies about offering the service as a premium add-on for subscribers.

Noggin is intended to complement to the company’s Nick Jr. app, which shows a live, linear feed of the Nick Jr. preschooler cable network for those who already subscribe.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has recently articulated a strategy of creating new methods for distributing the company’s content that will not depend on measurement systems such as Nielsen, which have long been the industry’s norm.

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