Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime owe a good deal of their success to parents of young children, who love that they can dial up one of their kids’ favorite shows or movies instantly and without commercials. The folks at Viacom and Verizon are hoping to replicate some of that experience with a new customizable cable TV channel aimed at youngsters.
Rather than putting viewers at the mercy of TV programmers or forcing parents to find desired content online or via on-demand TV, “My Nick Jr.” will take a different approach by giving viewers a selection of seven different themes — like “get creative,” “word play,” or “supersonic science” — that will then determine the initial programming. Viewers can then vote yay or nay (via smile and frown icons) for individual shows. This feedback will then help customize the experience further.
Think of it like Pandora for your TV, where the Nickelodeon back-end computers do their best to predict what shows you will want based on your expressed preferences.
The Wall St. Journal reports that there will (at least initially) be no ads on My Nick Jr., and parents will be able to set limits on how many hours of the channel their kids can watch at a time. Parents will also have access to reports on which shows their kids are watching.
The My Nick Jr. channel will first launch on Verizon FiOS in the coming months. It will be given a slot in the channel lineup directly next to the existing Nick Jr. channel.
Viacom says it expects to roll the new channel out to other TV providers but gives no time frame. It’s also possible that the format could be extended to other Viacom-operated properties like MTV.
This customizable content approach is seen by some as a way to combat cord-cutters who are tired of being restricted by broadcasters’ programming schedules.
“It’s a way you can quash the momentum of over-the-top players in the marketplace,” explains Verizon’s vice president of content strategy and acquisition. “There’s no reason they should own that space—we should own that space.”