Nickelodeon gems from your childhood are returning to computer and TV screens nationwide thanks to a new partnership with VRV, a video streaming service created in 2016. But the cost might prove problematic for some University of Maryland students.
In August, VRV launched NickSplat, a digital streaming channel that airs '90s-era cartoon reruns. Now, Nickelodeon diehards and newbies alike can stream shows like CatDog, Doug, Legends of the Hidden Temple and other essentials for $5.99 a month.
According to a Nickelodeon press release, the service will contain "a rotating selection of nearly 30 series of Nick's most popular nostalgic animated and live-action programming." Viewers will also be able to download the service on a variety of gaming devices.
While most of the available shows on NickSplat are from the '90s, the service's content is evergreen, said VRV general manager Arlen Marmel.
"The reality is that most of this content is timeless," Marmel said. "It will be relevant in every era because of the amazing characters and unforgettable stories."
Marmel said the company is "building a basecamp for more interesting fandom explorations." But with services like Hulu and Netflix offering mainstream television and movies, it's hard to predict whether NickSplat and VRV will catch on for post-millennials and college students.
"I probably wouldn't pay for it," said freshman aerospace engineering major Madhav Patel. "The shows are ancient, and you can watch them online."
Patel, who currently uses Netflix and Amazon Video, said he's "pretty satisfied" with his current subscriptions.
Eunice Adeola, a sophomore public health science major, expressed similar concerns as Patel. Adeola watched Nickelodeon shows as a child, but now she uses Netflix and HBO, and said "cartoons aren't really [her] thing."
While some students lack interest in the streaming service, others are interested in seeing NickSplat come to fruition.
"If they had Drake and Josh and iCarly and Victorious, and every episode in every season, then I would consider getting it," said Arona Baigal, a sophomore government and politics major.
Baigal currently pays $4.99 for Spotify Premium, which includes Hulu and Showtime access for students. She said a price higher than that is "really asking for a lot."
Marmel said the subscription is an affordable option for the amount of material it offers.
"With a VRV Premium membership for $9.99 per month, viewers will get access to over 12 channel partners," Marmel said. "Subscriptions to each of these individually would cost over $50."
At the end of the day, VRV aims to reach niche audiences looking for something different.
"Some people like staying within the mainstream, and services like Netflix and Hulu will be enough for them," Marmel said. "That's fine by us."