Cartoon Network Ratings Hurting Thanks to Netflix

Earlier this year, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim shows finally hit the Netflix streaming service after a long, long time of people crying out for just that to happen. The “classics” like Dexter’s Laboratory, Courage The Cowardly Dog, Ed Edd n Eddy, and the newer “classics” like Adventure Time and Regular Show joined hands with Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Metalocalypse, Robot Chicken, and others to jump into the ranks along with original series and stuff from a wide scope of other networks on the most popular of the streaming on-demand video services. Now, after a few months of availability, CN is starting to see something they don’t like, and they blame Netflix for it.

According to Variety, an analysis of the network’s ratings by Todd Juenger of research firm Sanford Bernstein shows that Netflix is cutting into the network’s TV ratings– not enough to be a disaster for CN, but just enough to drop the numbers down.

Since March, when the content first showed up on Netflix, CN ratings in households that also subscribe to Netflix’s service dropped 10% versus houses that don’t. In those same households, Adult Swim’s ratings dropped down 18%. Juenger said that if there was any lingering doubt that streaming VOD services would hurt kids’ TV ratings, “this should put a final end to that debate.”

CN ratings have gone down overall on a year to year basis, not including Netflix. From April to July, the network dropped 23% and July’s ratings were down 40% compared to last year’s. The network is trending down, but Netflix is only really accounting for 3% overall of the network’s drops, whereas CN assumed in the early going with Netflix that it would take a hit of up to 5% nationally. The network says any other declines are because of other things, including the loss of returning hit shows in the beginning of the year. Most of their new shows are debuting at the end of the summer instead of early on in the year.

Juenger has been positive for some time that Netflix could harm kids’ television networks since last year. Where childrens’ TV networks could take small hits while Netflix gained subscribers, other genres of television would gain ratings thanks to Netflix subscribers. AMC saw a 50% boost in ratings for Breaking Bad in season 4, thanks in big part to Netflix having older seasons available for streaming.

Cartoon Network still has some gain from Netflix as it will make plenty of money from their deal. But it could also hurt more in the future as more content is available and fewer people hold on to their cable subscriptions. Until then, though, and perhaps even after that happens, Turner and CN don’t stand to lose as much as others competing in the same market.

Kudos to Variety for the information.

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Jim Napier

Jim Napier

Lover of movies and The Big Lebowski.