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Nickelodeon to Unveil Stand-Alone Subscription Video Service in February

Children’s entertainment giant Nickelodeon intends to follow the example of HBO and unveil a direct-to-consumer subscription service in February, the chief executive of Nickelodeon’s parent, Viacom, said during a call with investors Thursday morning.

More details about the service will be revealed when Nickelodeon hosts its upfront meeting with advertisers next month. U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory in the upfront market, and TV networks that cater to children typically lead the salvo.

The new Nickelodeon service will be aimed specifically at consumers who use mobile devices, Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman said during a call held to discuss Viacom’s financial performance. He suggested the service would have a different name or brand, and said it “will be very attractive to parents and children.”

A spokesman for Nickelodeon, Dan Martinsen, declined to offer additional details.

Taking programming traditionally distributed through cable and satellite companies and making it available to consumers via broadband is an idea that has captured more attention in the media industry, which has seen subscription-based streaming-video services from Netflix and Amazon gain traction. One of the bigger drivers of this new business is the kids’ market, as it allows parents to make a child’s favorite program available on demand, not according to the whims of a TV-network schedule. Indeed, both Netflix and Amazon have launched programs on their respective services made expressly for children.

In October Time Warner said it would make HBO available as a stand-alone service to broadband customers in 2015, making it easier to gain access to the premium cable network’s signature programs without having to also buy a larger cable package. Broadcast-network CBS has moved even faster, launching its “All Access” subscription-video service in the same month, which makes current and classic programming, with a few restrictions, available for a monthly fee of $5.99.


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