Noggin, the kids' educational channel that Nickelodeon
and Children's Television Workshop are jointly creating, closed its first carriage
deals and appointed a general manager last week.
EchoStar Communications Corp. will offer Noggin as part of
its Dish Network direct-broadcast satellite service, reaching 1.3 million homes, when the
new programming service debuts in January, officials said. In addition, MTV Networks Inc.
has reached its first affiliation deals for its pack of 10 digital networks -- a group
that includes Noggin -- with Telesynergy Inc., a consortium of 12 MSOs with 5.5 million
In addition to those carriage agreements, Nick and CTW also
named Tom Ascheim general manager of Noggin. Ascheim, as Nick's vice president of
business development, publishing and multimedia, is one of the key developers of Noggin, a
joint venture between CTW and Nick.
Ascheim, 35, will report to Noggin's board, which
includes executives from both Nick and CTW. He joined Nick in 1990 as its first
Ascheim said that during the past year, he has been working
intensely on Noggin, which he described as "something that Sumner [Redstone, MTVN
parent Viacom Inc.'s chairman] really wanted to do."
Ascheim -- who has a built-in Noggin focus group with his
five-and-a-half-year-old son and two-year-old daughter -- added, "We need to bring
this brand to life."
One of Ascheim's first goals is to build a staff for
the start-up educational network. He also aims to fully integrate the video network with
an online component, so that kids can easily move back and forth between the two.
In terms of the new affiliation deals, a Telesynergy
spokesman declined to comment on the consortium's agreement with MTVN, and MTVN
officials couldn't be reached for comment. But starting Aug. 1, Telesynergy system
members that are rolling out digital-video services under their affiliation agreements
will be able to launch the first phase of MTVN's 10-pack: "The Suite," six
music-video channels from MTV: Music Television and VH1.
Early next year, the other four Nickelodeon networks that
are part of MTVN's digital 10-pack will debut, and Telesynergy systems will have the
right to launch them, as well. Those four networks include the flagship Noggin, as well as
Nick Games & Sports and Nick Too, the moniker for East and West Coast digital feeds of
Nick. Noggin, aimed at children two to 11, will be available for both analog and digital
MTVN's agreement with EchoStar is the first DBS deal
for the educational network, officials said.
Noggin's program schedule will include product from
Nick's and CTW's libraries, such as Blue's Clues and Sesame