If you’ve noticed a lot of promoted Nickelodeon titles not appearing on Paramount+, your eyes are not fooling you. If you’re thinking it has been almost half a year since the last missing Nickelodeon library appeared on Paramount+, you’d be correct. If you’ve felt like Netflix seems to be adding Nickelodeon library more frequently than Paramount+, well, you’d be right.
The May list for Netflix presents Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Season 1) in anticipation of August’s Netflix Original film that will serve as the franchise’s conclusion. The weird thing is, Netflix is also adding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012). Why is this weird? It’s weird because this series left Hulu in January and is one of select few NickToons missing from Paramount+. Why did Paramount license the series to Netflix before their own platform?
It wasn’t always this way. In the first year of Paramount+, we frequently sung their praises and held them up as an example to Disney+ and HBO Max. We mentioned in multiple articles the way they actually added 80s and 90s Nickelodeon live-action series while Disney+ has only added 3 over the course of 2.5 years: Out of the Box, Boy Meets World, and Adventures in Wonderland.
Sadly, Paramount+ fell into the same trap Disney+ did and has basically abandoned their missing nostalgia shows just as the service turned 1.
The Nickelodeon problems first became evident last summer and fall when advertised Nickelodeon shows such as Tak and the Power of Juju and AwesomenessTV would not appear on their scheduled dates. At first, they would relist them and they’d arrive a month later, but soon they stopped re-listing the Nick no-shows altogether. Let’s look at some of those no-shows that disappeared into the void. A whopping five Nick titles no-showed in October 2021: 100 Things To Do Before High School, Keep It Spotless, Jagger Eaton’s Mega Life, Webheads, and See Dad Run.
One of the most requested missing titles, 100 Things To Do Before High School, has the sad honor of no-showing from Paramount+ twice. It’s now been half a year since the last scheduled date. The pilot film is available, but the series is not. The film is also on Netflix, but they too are unable to stream the full franchise. Why does it matter? Well, besides the fact that completionism matters to a passionate subset of the population, this silly sitcom starred Isabela Merced (née. Moner). She went on to be a pretty big star for Nick and corporate daddy Paramount with starring roles in roles in Dora and the City of Lost Gold, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Legends of the Hidden Temple, so fans want to relive her earliest work. She can next be seen in 20th Century Studios’ Rosaline, coming this fall to Hulu.
Additional no-shows that never appeared include August 2021’s Cousins for Life and February 2022’s It’s Pony. Both are a different style of bizarre since they’re quite recent and thus nailing down streaming rights should not be complex. Cousins for Life is another one-season wonder that aired from 2018-2019. It’s not available to purchase or rent on Google Play, YouTube, or Amazon Prime so perhaps that series has deeper licensing issues.
It’s Pony is perhaps a victim of another issue plaguing Nickelodeon that CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon, Brian Robbins, needs to fix immediately. Paramount+ has extraordinarily awful windowing for their Nickelodeon shows. Wait, what? Is this a house we’re talking about? No. Windowing is a term used in the film and television industry that refers to the exclusive or shared time period when a film or television work is available to one particular form of distribution or medium. For example, there has been a lot of talk over the past year about the collapsing of the “theatrical window.” Before the pandemic and streaming explosion, films were exclusively available to exhibitors in the film industry for up to 9 months after release! The current windowing differs between studios, but in most cases the exclusive period for cinema falls between 30 and 90 days. A massive improvement for consumers and streaming services!
There are multiple windows that come after the theatrical window: including home media (Blu-Ray, DVD, etc), Video On Demand (VOD) rentals or purchases via retailers like Google Play or Prime Video, Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) which you’ll know as Netflix, HBO Max, Paramount+, etc, Pay TV (Starz, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime), and Free TV. Some of these windows overlap, but in many cases these windows are exclusive. What many people don’t know is that the television industry also utilizes windows to strive for the best return on their investment.
Why Use Windows?
The entire reason this strategy exists is to ensure the distributors could milk everything they release for all it’s worth. The thought was if you conflate the theatrical and streaming windows, you hurt box office. We saw with Disney+’s Premier Access and HBO Max’s Day-and-Date theatrical / streaming experiment last year that providing films on streaming without a proper theatrical window resulted in diminished box office returns. Television windows exist for similar reasons. If TV rushes to streaming services and everyone watches their shows ad-free, where is the money?
Ad-supported streaming tiers have created an extra way to monetize television episodes and led to next-day episodes becoming a thing on services like Hulu or Paramount+, but when Hulu first launched, that window was 1 week! These windows have been shrinking for a decade. We’ve all watched as Disney+’s television episode windows for Nat Geo, Disney Channel, and Disney Junior, shrunk from adding episodes to Disney+ a few months after the entire season ended to immediately after the season ended in only about half a year. Not long after Disney+ turned 1-year old they figured out break the windows down even further by add in-season episodes of shows within a month or 2 of airing. We’ve even seen numerous episodes of series added prior to linear airing.
Since Disney+ does not have an ad-supported tier, their “next day episodes” remain licensed to on-demand services like ABC.com, Freeform.com, DisneyNow, and Hulu where they can make extra revenue from the ads. We expect that to change this fall when Disney adds an ad-tier. DisneyNow is pretty much done for at that point. Paramount+ does have ad-supported tier and they do release CBS shows the day after they air. So, pardon our French, but what the HECK is going on with Nickelodeon’s recent library?
NIckelodeon, Where Are You?
Unfortunately, as Paramount+ hit the 1-year anniversary it became evident that the Nickelodeon shows are operating under a ridiculous 1.5 – 2-year window between an episode airing and becoming available to stream. This is by far the worst in the entire streaming industry and incredibly short-sighted. After episodes air on TV they head to Nick.com and On-Demand. They then stay there for over 1 year on an exclusive basis. Even after they leave, they disappear into the void. Cousins for Life, Star Falls, The Substitute, Unleashed… these shows left Nick.com a long time ago, but they’re still not available to stream. For this reason alone, we have a hard time taking Parmaount+ seriously as a streaming service. Kids content on streaming services SELLS.
We can’t emphasize enough how foolish they look canceling many shows (Drama Club, Unleashed, Unfiltered, The Astronauts) that have never even made it to the streaming window! Especially these days where streaming services are helping shows find audiences and grow like never before. It’s borderline incompetence that most shows from the past 4 years are missing on Paramount+. Even when we praised them for adding classic library shortly after launch, we noted the peculiar fact that there was nothing remotely recent.
We can’t believe we’re saying this, but it has not even improved! At all. Is this something they could fix? Of course. One well-thrown rock can shatter any old window. Paramount CAN do what Disney did and renegotiate old deals and gain access to the episodes they air on Nickelodeon sooner.
What will it take for them to do this? Modern consumers expect to see the current hits when they subscribe to a brand’s service. Clicking the Nickelodeon brand tile and realizing that massive current hits like Side Hustle aren’t even available is not a good way to establish trust or loyalty!
We’ve compiled a list of Nickelodeon’s recent series that are not streamable on Paramount+ to drive our point home about just how destructive this antiquated windowing system is and how crucial it is that Paramount stops this practice immediately. Disney+ has every show from the past 4 years Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior. There is no excuse for this from Paramount+.
Shows Unavailable On Paramount+ From Past 4 Years
- Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2021) (Season 2)
- The Astronauts (2020-2021) (1 season) – CANCELLED
- The Barbarian and the Troll (2021) (1 season) – LIKELY CANCELLED
- Cousins For Life (2018-2019) (1 season) – CANCELLED
- Danger Force (2020- Present) (Season 1 Episodes 7-26 and Season 2 Episodes 1-16)
- Drama Club (2020) (1 season) – CANCELLED
- Group Chat (2020) (2 seasons) – CANCELLED
- It’s Pony (2020 – Present) (2 seasons)
- Middlemost Post (2021 – Present) (1 season)
- Side Hustle (2020 – Present) (1.5 seasons)
- Star Falls (2018) (1 season) – CANCELLED
- The Substitute (2019-2021) (3 seasons) – CANCELLED
- That Girl Lay Lay (2021 – Present (1 season)
- Tooned In (2021 – Present) (2 seasons)
- Unleashed (2020) (1 season) – CANCELLED
- Unfiltered (2020-2021) (2 seasons) – LIKELY CANCELLED
- Warped! (2022) (1 season)
- Young Dylan (2020 – Present) (Season 1 Episodes 11-14 and Season 2)
The list is bewildering and in some of these cases incredibly frustrating. Can you imagine trying to explain to your kids why they can watch the first 5 episodes of Raven’s Home Season 5 a week after episode 5 aired or the entire second season of Secrets of Sulphur Springs months before the finale airs on TV, but they can’t watch even ONE episode of Side Hustle, midway through the 2nd season? No. Brian Robbins should have reworked whatever awful legacy / distribution deals they have in place a long time ago.
Not only that, but when Paramount+ finally adds “recent” shows, they do it in small batches. Young Dylan season 1 started off with only 5 episodes despite the fact that season 2 was just about done airing. It took a long time for All That (2019 reboot) to trickle in the full first season. When Danger Force finally appeared a few months ago, it was only the first 6 episodes of the series! Episodes which aired in the first few months of the pandemic, if that helps give some perspective to how old they are. Yes, we’ve been in this pandemic for eternity.
Fans were extremely disappointed when current series It’s Pony (wrapping up it’s 2nd season soon) no-showed in February. Paramount+ can’t even get the first season streaming when the 2nd one is almost over? The May list doesn’t show It’s Pony which means it’s another no-show that has fallen into a void.
What these issues suggest is that Paramount needs to rework their streaming strategy with regards to children’s TV. Kids love it, adults love to see the shows they grew up on. It should be a no-brainer. As much we advocate for library though, even we admit it should be their top priority for get CURRENTLY RELEVANT episodes on the service sooner before they dip back into the 90s. If we were them, we’d be humiliated. 4 years of Nickelodeon shows unavailable on the streaming service that is supposed to be the streaming home of Nick?
We hate to leave on a negative note, so let’s finish with some high praise for Paramount+.
NickToons vs Disney TVA: A Clear Winner
We do have to thank and congratulate Paramount+ on a much better job than Disney+ in one key competition.
When Paramount+ turned 1 they had already added 47 out of 56 NickToons for a total of 83% available. Disney’s equivalent cartoon brand, Disney Television Animation (TVA) has only added 58 out of 86 for a total of 67%. If you think that’s an unfair comparison since Disney has more overall, perhaps these additional statistics and facts will change your mind.
Paramount+ has 21 out of 22 NickToons from 1990-2004.
Disney+ has 18 out of 36 Disney TVA toons from that exact same time period.
Of Disney’s missing TVA cartoons they can almost all be clearly isolated to two groups, the late 90s and early 00s (Jetix, One Saturday Morning) as well as, for some strange reason, Disney XD.
In addition to the NickToons, Paramount+ streams numerous other cartoons they own such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Paddington, and cartoons made for Nick Jr. If we add in Disney’s non-TVA toons such as the 90s Fox Kids line that they’ve owned since purchasing Freeform 20 years ago and refused to take out of the vault, well, it’s not a pretty picture. Paramount is running circles around Disney here. Disney also has vintage cartoons like Dungeons and Dragons, Little Wizards, and Muppet Babies that never see the light of day.
Even the missing Nickelodeon NickToons are all available to rent or buy with the exception of 2. Disney’s missing TVA cartoons are almost entirely vaulted and unavailable in any legal form whatsoever! Considering Disney is known for their animation, insiders have racked their brains trying to understand why Disney has not taken better care to archive their animation library or make it available.
So, there you go Paramount+. You’ve got that going for you. Now, do better with recent shows and relisting those no-shows.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.