Two of the major players in kids' networks present their
programming offerings to advertisers this week for the upfronts, and
Nickelodeon's recent ratings troubles have been weighing on those same
advertisers' minds, according to AdAge.
During its upfront Wednesday, Nickelodeon will introduce new shows aimed at a variety of ages amid
criticism that it has relied on older series like SpongeBob SquarePants, the report said. Disney Channel, which had its own upfront on
Tuesday, overtook Nickelodeon as leader among 6-11 year olds in 2011 and closed
the gap among children 2 to 11, according to the story.
Cartoon Network has also grown, sliding in second place among
6 to 11 year olds several times in the first quarter of 2012, the story said.
Despite the ratings, Nickeldeon remains confident in its
standing. "We have no intention of giving up our No. 1 spot," said
Jim Perry, exec VP for 360 Brand Sales at Nickelodeon, according to the report. "We are addressing
the ratings issue with our clients head-on, hand-in-hand."
The criticism that the network has relied on aging shows,
however, is repeated by advertisers, AdAge reports.
"We haven't really seen a new big hit in some time to
the caliber of Hannah Montana, SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly, or TV movies like High School Musical," said Darcy
Bowe, associate activation director at Starcom USA, the story said. "There have been some
successful shows, but nothing that's followed has been a runaway hit. Networks
recognize this too, and we will be waiting to hear the strategy for how they
are going about finding the next hit."
Kids' networks are also extending their content offerings to
parents, with Nickelodeon launching the NickMom nightly programming block at
the end of the year. Discovery Communications and Hasbro's The Hub has also
attracted advertisers from insurance, financial, beverages, travel and leisure,
apparel, video dating and technology categories with its classic TV programming
including Transformers, according to
Margaret Loesch, president and CEO of The Hub, the story said.
Disney does not accept traditional advertising, instead
using sponsorships. Disney Junior, launching on March 23, only has sponsorship opportunities.
Disney XD sells both sponsorships and regular commercials.
Based on current marketplace trends, the kids' networks are generally expecting upfront demand deal-making to be par with last year.