Nickelodeon Buys Sparkler to Boost Preschool Education on Children’s Streaming Service

ALL THAT: Nickelodeon, the children’s TV network, has bought New York-based early childhood learning platform Sparkler. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Founded in 2015, Sparkler offers an educational app focused on early-childhood learning that measures child development. The company received one of NewSchools Venture Fund’s Early Learning Challenge grants, which comes with $50,000 to $150,000 in cash, in 2017.

Nickelodeon, owned by Viacom, plans to integrate Sparkler’s technology into Noggin, the network’s ad-free video subscription service that launched in 2015 and currently offers more than 1,500 episodes of children’s shows including “PAW Patrol,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Blue’s Clues” and “Yo Gabba Gabba!” That integration, according to a press release, is supposed to help parents track children’s growth and development as they progress through Noggin’s content. According to Bloomberg, Noggin boasts about 2.5 million subscribers.

Sparkler’s existing work with schools, healthcare and social services providers will continue as a new, separate nonprofit organization, Sparker Learning.

As part of the deal, Sparkler co-founder Kristen Kane has become Noggin’s executive vice president and will report to Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins. Kane previously worked as chief operating officer of Amplify, chief operating officer of the New York City Department of Education and director of national purposes, national broadband team, for the Federal Communications Commission.