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Paramount weighs offering majority stake in Noggin

The potential move is part of a broader strategy shift to focus on the company's core streamers, Paramount Plus and Pluto TV.

The potential move is part of a broader strategy shift to focus on the company's core streamers, Paramount Plus and Pluto TV.

Paramount Global is considering a plan that would put a majority stake in children’s streaming service Noggin up for sale, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

The move is part of a broader strategy that involves Paramount shifting its focus toward its two flagship streaming services: The subscription service Paramount Plus with Showtime and free, ad-supported streamer Pluto TV.

Noggin originally launched as a pay television channel in the late 1990s. Like other children-focused channels, Noggin ended its broadcast day in prime-time; the network time-shared with the teen-oriented The N for several years.

Then-parent company Viacom Networks shut down Noggin’s pay television channel in 2009, only to revive the brand several years later as a direct-to-consumer, kid-friendly streaming service. The brand fell under the ownership of Paramount Global after Viacom and CBS merged in 2019.

Nogging produces shows targeted primarily at young children, and much of its content is produced by sister network Nickelodeon. According to the Journal, Paramount still wants to retain a minority stake in Noggin because it believes the channel can still generate a decent amount of revenue.

But Paramount wants Noggin to be more than just a platform for television shows: The company thinks the brand has a potential to be an interactive learning platform, the Journal said, and it’s hoping to find an investor that can help bring that potential to market.

Noggin is relatively small in audience compared to Paramount Plus with Showtime and Pluto TV, and is more comparable to Paramount’s other niche streaming service, BET Plus. In March, reports surfaced indicating Paramount was willing to put a majority stake of BET Plus up for grabs, with several suitors lining up to potentially acquire it.

It wasn’t clear from the Journal’s report if anyone has been approached about acquiring a majority stake in Noggin. As a pay TV network, the channel was once operated in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the production company behind the PBS program “Sesame Street.” That partnership ended with Viacom buying out Sesame Workshop’s stake in the channel in 2002.

In the meantime, Noggin is expected to continue offering its streaming service for sale, with new subscriptions priced at $8 a month. The service is available directly through the Noggin website as well as the Roku Channel, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Plus and through Dish Network’s Sling TV.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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