Perhaps sensing the changing consumer winds, Nickelodeon has become the latest major cable network to launch a direct-to-consumers paid cable channel. At this point, there are not too many other details to report, but parent company Viacom is expected to announce the launch and offer more details after meeting with advertisers in February.
According to Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, the new service will be, “aimed at the mobile market” and “attractive for parents and children.”
Some market watchers have called this one more defection from the cable company content cabal, while others are saying Viacom is just hedging its bets, offering an additional service, not a replacement for its wildly popular cable TV offerings.
The announcement also explains the move to remove several Nickelodeon programs from streaming services such as Netflix, a surprise decisions that led to massive customer rage on social media. While some shows did return, several key programs did not, telegraphing Viacom’s move to release a proprietary mobile property. After pulling the content from Netflix, the company now has a decent idea exactly how much interest there is in paying for Nickelodeon content, and how the marketplace might react to a standalone offering.
Of course, Viacom is not the only cable content provider testing the waters. HBO has already announced a pilot program to sell subscriptions online, a plan the company expects to launch in October 2015. This announcement comes on the heels of the success of HBO-GO, a mobile app for HBO fans with an active cable TV subscription. No word yet on the future of HBO-GO should the Internet subscription service take off.
But, looking at Viacom and HBO, as well as other brands currently weighing their options, it’s clear that content providers are convinced that mobile viewing and streaming video are not just the next tech fads. They believe they are here to stay, and are actively moving to make sure they don’t get left behind when the mass migration begins.