A new report from MoffettNathanson has found that kids don't watch linear TV anymore. Viewership of kids TV dropped 53 percent from 2019 to 2021, with Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon the hardest hit US cable channels with respective 34% and 23% declines.
This is as per the MoffettNathanson State of Linear Viewing (2021) report. Of course the story isn't that kids aren't watching linear anymore in the numbers they were. We knew they were dropping, just as they are for adult viewership. The story is about the rate of decline. For kids, to be honest, I'm actually surprised that the drop wasn't steeper. After all, young kids tend to have younger parents of an age where they are more likely to be cordcutters or (actually more likely) 'cord nevers'. That said, a lot of viewing still happens at Nanna and Pops.
The declines are also, obviously enough, being reported for adult cable TV channels (ie cable channels watched by adults... I don't have stats here about 'Adult' channels, but I reckon they're pretty flaccid by this stage too). From the table below, you can see some pretty major channels are seeing viewership drop by half over the past five years.
For most of these channels, the brands will live on as their programing migrates over to the streaming services of their parent companies. Cartoon Network and Nick aren't going away anytime soon when HBO Max and Paramount+ are on the rise.
Cable TV isn't going away anytime soon. The thing we are watching for now is when licence fees start drying up and when the resources required to run cable services starts costing more than media companies, who are now more focused on streaming, are willing to invest. Is it two years from now? Five?
As an aside, I do wonder is where the future lies for Lifetime and Hallmark. Both channels with their very specific low-expectation drama fare (how is that for me being polite?) likely wouldn't sustain a future as freestanding streaming services. How long is it until they are acquired by general entertainment streamers? There's a lot of brand value in both.
- Happy 25th anniversary, DVD format. Read: HD Report
- RIP Netflix series Archive 81, cancelled after just one season. Read: Variety
- CNN+ has unveiled its daily/weekly schedule ahead of its March 29 launch. Read: CNN
- A Nova series (or movie) is in development for Marvel. Read: Deadline
- This is the second year in a row China will not broadcast the Oscars. Read: THR
Killing It debuts April 14 on Peacock.
Roar debuts on Apple TV+ April 15.
City On a Hill returns July 10 for season 3 on Showtime.
Green Mothers Club debuts April 6 on Netflix.
Along For The Ride debuts on Netflix April 22.
Silverton Siege debuts on Netflix April 27.
The Survivor debuts April 27 on HBO.
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