Nickelodeon, the kid-targeted cable television channel, is looking to expand its reach to young media consumers. And that means podcasts. The ViacomCBS-owned network has inked a deal with iHeartMedia to produce two new podcasts scheduled to be released this summer.
“The family podcast market is still nascent, and we’re thrilled to be working closely with our good friends at iHeartRadio producing exciting new content for all audio platforms,” said Nickelodeon SVP Douglas Rosen. “Not only are we extending our beloved franchises and IP to the audio landscape, but we’re also working with creative talent to produce new ideas and concepts for all audiences.”
The new co-productions include the podcast called Avatar: Braving the Elements. It is hosted by original series voice actors Janet Varney (the voice of Korra) and Dante Basco (the voice of Prince Zuko) from the TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Each week they will re-watch every episode of the show and break down key themes, notable battles, and behind-the-scenes trivia. Special guests from cast members to producers join them to explore elements of the Avatarverse, including the origins of the story and how Avatar was brought to life. Avatar: Braving the Elements debuts June 22 and will have 40 episodes.
The two companies are also developing the podcast SpongeBob BingePants. It will be hosted by super-fans Frankie Grande (Henry Danger) and Hector Navarro (Geek & Sundry). It too is a re-watch podcast of the TV series “SpongeBob SquarePants.” It too will have 40 episodes and is set to premiere later this year.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the team at Nickelodeon to bring such incredibly fun shows to audiences everywhere,” said Will Pearson, Chief Operating Officer of the iHeartPodcast Network. “I’m not sure you could pick two better franchises to kick things off, and there’s much more to come,” he said in the announcement.
Additional podcasts featuring Nickelodeon titles from its library are currently in development and will be announced in the coming months.
Podcasters have increasingly been putting more emphasis on development of shows targeting kids and their parents. iHeartMedia launched the iHeartRadio Family app in 2014 but it wasn’t until last September that the iHeartPodcast Network’ The Ten News became the company’s first podcast targeting kids ages 8-12. The short-form, ten-minute show is a podcast geared to giving news to kids. It is a co-production between iHeart and Small But Mighty Media and Next Chapter Podcasts.
Spotify has also launched the standalone app called Spotify Kids that will feature ad-free content, music and podcasts specifically geared for kids and families.
In March, Apple teamed with Common Sense Media to serve up a curated list of Kids & Family genre content. Common Sense Media will pull from a list of nine podcast producers, including Tinkercast, American Public Media, Gen-Z Media, Pinna, Tumble, Highlights, WNYC Studios, Rebel Girls and Nickelodeon.