According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Viacom will soon launch a new channel for kids called My Nick Jr. that combines both scheduled programming and on-demand options, like Netflix. The new channel is said to launch first on Verizon's FiOS service, though Viacom also plans to bring it to other paid cable TV services in the near future.
My NIck Jr. will let parents customize the shows and programming presented on the channel by choosing preferred themes, with names such as "word play," "super-sonic science," and "get creative." The channel will then play TV shows and other content related to the chosen themes from Nickelodeon's vast back catalog of children's shows, including such favorites as Dora the Explorer. As children watch the channel, they can rate shows by clicking on smile or frown icons, which will then alter the channel's programming lineup. It's not unlike the thumbs-up and thumbs-down rating system Pandora and other music services use to personalize streaming stations. Reportedly, the premium channel will have no ads, further mimicking the experience available on Netflix.
Kids can rate episodes as they watch them, improving the channel's automated lineup
The new channel will be available in the coming months on Verizon's FiOS service, and will be adjacent to the current Nick Jr. station. Interactive programming like My Nick Jr. is the latest effort from established programming companies to stem the shift of people dropping paid cable services for lower-cost internet streaming services such as Netflix.
Children's programming has grown exponentially on Netflix and others over the past few years (Netflix even offers a dedicated "Kids" section that makes it easy to find appropriate programming), as parents find it an easy way to monitor and control what television their young ones are exposed to. My Nick Jr. promises to offer a similar level of control, but we'll have to see if it's something that really takes off or is just another weak effort from a shrinking industry.