What Nickelodeon ratings curse? Hasbro signs Netflix deal

*Oct 06 - 00:10*

For the last several months, the talk of the kids cable TV business has been Nickelodeon’s double-digit ratings declines — and how the Viacom-owned network’s streaming deal with Netflix might be somewhat to blame for fragmenting the audience for the network’s shows.

That doesn’t seem to have scared off Hasbro Studios, the film and TV production arm of the toy-making giant. On Thursday, the company — which together with Discovery Communications, operates kids channel The Hub — announced its own streaming deal with Netflix.

Under the agreement, previous seasons of five Hasbro Studios-produced series — all of which are on the Hub programming lineup — will become immediately available for streaming by Netflix subscribers in the “Just For Kids” section. These animated kiddie shows include Transformers Prime, My Little Pony, Pound Puppies, G.I. Joe: Renegades and The Adventures of Chuck & Friends. Five more Hasbro shows will debut later on in 2012.

So what about Nickelodeon’s whopping 26 percent viewership declines in the first quarter among kids 2-11? Well, there’s all sorts of data suggesting any Netflix connection to Nick’s ratings woes is complete bunk.

You can, for instance, also stream on Netflix previous seasons of Disney Channel shows like The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and Disney Channel ratings were up 11 percent in the first quarter, according to viewership data compiled by metrics company Nielsen.

Another example showing that Nick’s ratings declines might have more to do with flagship shows like Spongebob Squarepants getting long in the tooth, rather than youthful audiences migrating to Netflix to watch them: When AMC’s adult hit Mad Men enjoyed series-high ratings for its season-debut late last month, one analyst suggested that catch-up viewing on Netflix actually helped the show develop a bigger audience while it was on its lengthy production hiatus.

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