Kicking Off TV Upfront Season, Nick Revives Noggin Brand as Kids App


At its upfront event for TV and digital advertisers this week, Viacom’s Nickelodeon, now 35 years old, announced the resurrection of its former Noggin TV brand as a mobile app for preschoolers—and the return of beloved characters Moose A. Moose and Zee D. Bird.

Noggin, the cable channel that was renamed Nick Jr. in 2009 and went off the air in Feb. 2012, is relaunching as a $5.99/month ad-free subscription video service with kid-friendly content.

Coming to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on March 5 (download the app here), titles at launch will include: Allegra’s Window, Blue’s Clues, Blue’s Room, Franklin and Friends, Gullah Gullah Island, Little Bear, Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, Ni Hao, Kai-lan, Oswald, Pocoyo, Robot and Monster and The Upside Down Show.

“We are reintroducing the Noggin name with this new mobile service because of its built-in equity with moms and as a signal of the high-quality preschool content that will be curated for it,” stated Cyma Zarghami, the recently-promoted president of the Viacom Kids and Family Group. [more]

As Nickeldeon notes in the app’s description, the new subscription service for preschool justifies the cost as a safe digital playspace for tots:

Kids can watch an expanding library of hundreds of episodes of quality preschool series, including the award-winning Blue’s Clues, Little Bear, Miss Spider, and Pocoyo! Plus, they’ll sing and dance along to music videos and learn important pre-kindergarten skills through fun educational videos. New videos are added every week! NOGGIN for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is easy for preschoolers to use all by themselves. It’s educational, safe, and ad-free, so parents can feel good about their subscription. Best of all? It’s hosted by two charming and lovable characters, Moose A. Moose, who is…you guessed it…a moose, and Zee, his best birdie buddy.

That’s Moose and Zee above, by the way, the beloved hosts of Noggin who presented interestitials between programming back when it was on the air.

The Noggin app complements the Nick Jr. app, which features a live streaming feed of the Nick Jr. TV channel plus on-demand episodes of the network’s current series, via a paid cable TV subscription authentication.

Nickelodeon has already launched more than 20 preschool apps including top-performing titles like Blaze and the Monster Machines, PAW Patrol Rescue Run, Wallykazam! Letter and Word Magic and award-winning Nick Jr. Draw and Play.

Nickelodeon also used the upfront to highlight fresh research around how kids are consuming content in today’s multiscreen world, and also talked up its 10-screen ecosystem, and new TV series, digital programming. 

“The proliferation of platforms and massive amounts of new content are having an unprecedented impact on entertainment, and we are using these opportunities to super-serve our audience with fresh content, new formats and innovative storytelling,” said Zarghami.

It also gave media buyers and branding execs a sneak peek at projects in development including a possible SpongeBob SquarePants Broadway musical, spinoff possibilities for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise and Nickelodeon Sports.

Noggin’s app is squaring off against Google’s just-launched YouTube Kids app, available in the Google Play store for Android devices and in Apple’s App Store for iOS mobile devices (for now, in the US only). Launch content for YouTube’s free app includes DreamWorks TV, Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom and Friends.  

The Noggin app (see more screen shots below) has the advantage of a mighty parent to promote it: Nickelodeon’s US television network, seen in more than 100 million households, and the top-rated basic cable network for 20 straight years, making it a powerhouse brand in the kids entertainment category.