Nickelodeon (popularly referred to as Nick) is an American pay television channel first tested on December 1, 1977. It launched officially on April 1, 1979, becoming the first cable channel for children. The network’s programming is primarily aimed at children aged 2–17, while some of its program blocks target a broader family audience. It is owned by ViacomCBS through its domestic networks division and is based in New York City.
The channel underwent the first series of tests in 1977 as part of QUBE, an early cable television system broadcasting locally in Columbus, Ohio. QUBE’s Channel C-3 during this period aired Pinwheel, an educational show developed by Vivian Horner. Pinwheel performed excellently with QUBE subscribers, and Horner sought to expand her program into a full channel on national television. The channel, now named Nickelodeon, launched to a new nationwide audience on April 1, 1979, with Pinwheel as its inaugural program. The network was initially commercial-free and remained without advertising until 1984. QUBE’s owner, Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, eventually sold Nickelodeon, along with its sister networks MTV and VH1, to Viacom in 1986.
Throughout its over three decades history, Nickelodeon has introduced sister channels and themed programming blocks. For instance, on January 4, 1988, Nickelodeon launched Nick Jr., a weekday-morning block aimed at preschool children.
On August 11, 1991, the network introduced another flagship brand, the Nicktoons: original animated productions explicitly created for the network. The Nicktoons brand would eventually evolve to introduce its sister channel, launched in 2002.
In 1999, Nickelodeon partnered with Sesame Workshop to create Noggin, an educational brand consisting of a cable channel and an interactive website. Two blocks aimed at a teenage audience, TEENick (previously on Nickelodeon) and The N (previously on Noggin), were merged into a standalone channel, TeenNick, in 2009.
As of September 2018, the channel is available to about 87.167 million households in the United States alone. Some of the popular programs available on Nickelodeon include animated series such as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, The Casagrandes, and It’s Pony. The channel also airs live-action, spirited series such as Danger Force, Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan and All That. The network’s daytime schedule is dedicated to shows targeting preschoolers such as PAW Patrol, Bubble Guppies, and Blue’s Clues & You!
As part of the network’s ICT policy, it released a free mobile app for smartphones and tablet computers operating on the Android and iOS platforms in February 2013. On September 30, 2013, Nick Radio was launched September 30 2013, in a partnership with iHeartMedia (formerly known as Clear Channel Communications),l. Nick Radio is focused on Top 40 and pop music, targeting a bulk of the network’s audience of children, with radio edits of some songs due to inappropriate content. The radio also features celebrity interviews and asides from the regular on-air DJs; Nick Radio occasionally featured guest DJs and stars from Nickelodeon’s original series.
Although Nick Radio shut down without warning on July 31, 2019, it had since been replaced by Hit Nation Junior. It currently ranks as a non-prime asset in Viacom’s six prime network strategies, therefore making it vulnerable to being terminated. Other divisions of Nickelodeon include Nickelodeon Movies, a motion picture production unit that was founded in 1995. Another arm of the network is the Nickelodeon Magazine which is a print magazine launched in 1993.