Viacom buys Sparkler to bolster kids' streaming service Noggin

Viacom said that Sparkler’s work with schools, healthcare providers and social services providers will continue through a new nonprofit organization called Sparkler Learning. (Noggin/Viacom)(Noggin/Nickelodeon)

Viacom announced Friday that it’s buying early childhood learning technology platform Sparkler to boost educational content on its Nickelodeon subscription streaming service Noggin.

Noggin, which costs $7.99 per month after a seven-day free trial, features more than 1,500 full-length library episodes, short-form videos, Spanish-language videos and music videos. Viacom said that over the next year, Sparkler’s technology will be integrated into Noggin’s platform to offer playable content and experiences on and off screen and personalized features that track progress over time.

In addition to integrating Sparkler’s tech, Viacom is bringing on co-founder Kristen Kane as the new executive vice president in charge at Noggin. She will report to Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins.

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“Pairing Sparkler’s capabilities with our curriculum-driven content will fully transform Noggin into a premier interactive learning destination for preschoolers and their families. Kristen brings extensive experience in the education and technology space, and she will help drive Noggin’s growth with an increased focus on delivering even greater value to our direct-to-consumer service,” said Robbins in a statement.

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Viacom said that Sparkler’s work with schools, healthcare providers and social services providers will continue through a new nonprofit organization called Sparkler Learning.

The move by Viacom is likely intended to help continue Noggin’s growth trend. The company said Noggin subscriptions have grown by triple digits year over year from 2017 to 2018.

The service is currently available for iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Android, Fire tablet and Roku devices, as well as on Amazon’s Prime Video Channels and The Roku Channel.

Viacom runs Noggin along with direct-to-consumer services Comedy Central Now and the upcoming MTV Hits. The company also recently acquired ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV, and is projecting the platform could provide a $1 billion advertising revenue opportunity.

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