Nicktoons is an American digital cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the MTV Networks Kids & Family Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. The channel broadcasts original animated series from sister network Nickelodeon, known as Nicktoons, along with other original animated series and foreign animated programs from Nickelodeon's international networks 24 hours a day. This channel is similar to Cartoon Network's sister channel Boomerang and Disney Channel's sister channel Disney XD (formerly known as Toon Disney).
Since its launch, Nicktoons has offered an alternate Spanish-language audio feed.
As of August 2013, approximately 67,950,000 American households (59.5% of households with television) receive Nicktoons.
Nicktoons was launched on May 1, 2002 as Nick Toons TV, part of the digital cable-exclusive MTV Digital Suite, in order to entice cable operators to pick up the network and give them a marketing advantage over satellite services. However, by early 2004, Nickelodeon management changed course and offered it to digital satellite services DirecTV and Dish Network. The network was originally marketed as commercial free, with comedic promos involving Nickelodeon Animation Studios, two-minute cartoon shorts from foreign markets, and former program promotions which had previously been used on Nickelodeon taking up commercial time. By June 6, 2005, as the network's distribution increased, the network began airing regular advertising.
On September 28, 2009, the network's logo changed as part of Nickelodeon's universal rebranding effort that also saw Nickelodeon's first logo change in 25 years, and name changes for sister networks: The N to TeenNick and Noggin to Nick Jr. In conjunction with this, the "Network" identifier was dropped, leaving the network to be rebranded as Nicktoons for the second time.
Despite the channel's name, Nicktoons is not exclusively limited to airing Nicktoons, Nickelodeon's branding for its original animated television series (a brand that has seldom been used by Nickelodeon itself since the launch of the Nicktoons channel). The channel has engaged in channel drift throughout its existence, increasingly adding action-oriented programming that was never seen on Nickelodeon, and even live-action programs in recent years.
Nicktoons HD launched on August 13, 2013. Like Viacom's other HD channels, any programming produced in 4:3 SD will be pillarboxed on this feed. AT&T U-Verse began carrying the feed in early 2014. On March 28, 2014, Time Warner cable customers in SoCal regions started to receive the HD Feed.
Nicktoons was launched in the UK on July 22, 2002; although, unlike the US version, it has been an advertiser-supported channel since its launch. Also unlike the U.S. version, it does not broadcast 24 hours a day. There are also other Nicktoons channels in other countries replacing Nick Premium. A Mexican version of Nicktoons was launched on February 4, 2013.