Nickelodeon to launch stand-alone streaming service

Nickelodeon to launch stand-alone streaming service

Nickelodeon, the children's cable channel known for "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Dora the Explorer," will launch an online streaming video channel this year, parent company Viacom said Thursday.

The announcement is the latest by a media group to connect directly with consumers without a cable or satellite subscription, and follows announcements by CBS, Time Warner's HBO and others.

Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman told an earnings conference call the new "direct-to-consumer subscription service" would be launched in March.

"We believe this innovative service, which will have a distinct brand and will target the fast-growing mobile market, will be very attractive for parents and children," Dauman said, noting that details will be announced next month.

The Nickelodeon channel is aimed at children, with offerings such as "SpongeBob" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

The move comes amid growing interest in Web-based services to deliver television such as Netflix, allowing viewers to bypass traditional cable or satellite services.

"New digital entrants are providing expansion opportunities as well as sparking industry-wide innovation," Dauman said, noting the Viacom expanded an agreement with Hulu and renewed a deal with Amazon.

Two Viacom channels, MTV and Comedy Central, are working with the online service Snapchat for its service offering short videos.

In the past quarter, Viacom reported a profit of $500 million on revenues of $3.3 billion.

The company also operates the Paramount studios, Britain's Channel 5 and a number of other cable television channels.