Nickelodeon Acquires Sparkler, Boosting Viacom’s Noggin Streaming Service

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Viacom’s four-year-old subscription offering Noggin has gotten a boost to its mission to serve preschoolers from Nickelodeon’s acquisition of Sparkler, an early childhood learning tech platform.

As part of the deal, Nickelodeon has installed Sparkler co-founder Kristen Kane as the new leader for Noggin, the ad-free, direct-to-consumer offering. Noggin features more than 1,500 full-length library episodes, short-form videos, Spanish-language videos and music videos featuring preschool educational fare.

Noggin started out as a linear cable joint venture with Sesame Workshop before eventually being targeted as a streaming app. Preschool programming at Nickelodeon for the past few years has carried the Nick Jr. banner.

Sparkler measures child development and delivers personalized content and coaching to parents to improve child outcomes. Its technology will be integrated into Noggin’s platform, Nickelodeon said, enabling parents to guide and support their children’s growth and development through engaging, playable content and experiences on and off screen. Personalized features track their progress over time.

Kane will become EVP of Noggin, based in New York, where she will oversee the integration of Sparkler and drive Noggin’s strategy and next phase of development as an educational digital platform. She will report to Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins, the former Awesomeness chief who replaced Cyma Zarghami in 2018.

“Pairing Sparkler’s capabilities with our curriculum-driven content will fully transform Noggin into a premier interactive learning destination for preschoolers and their families,” Robbins said in a press release. “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.”

Kane was the founding COO of Amplify, an education technology company dedicated to collaborating with educators to create learning experiences for students K-12. Prior to that, she was COO of the New York City Department of Education in the Bloomberg administration, responsible for the implementation of reforms and oversight of daily operations. Kane also served at the Federal Communications Commission, where she led the development of strategies for applying broadband technologies in the education, healthcare, and energy sectors.

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