Kids show spending still falling

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Global spending on children's programming by broadcasters continued to slide in 2006, falling €58 million ($80 million) to €1.03 billion ($1.42 billion), according to research published Monday by Screen Digest.

Spending has been on a downward trajectory since 2002, when spending totaled €1.1 billion ($1.5 billion). There was a brief rise in 2005 before spending fell back again last year.

The home entertainment market, hit by the withdrawal of the VHS market and the growth of round-the-clock television channels, also has suffered, slipping to €911 million ($1.26 billion) in 2006 from €1.2 billion ($1.66 billion) in 2002.

Despite the drop in spending, the number of children's channels continues to proliferate in major markets, led by France and the U.K., which have 17 dedicated kids channels apiece, many driven by subscription fees rather than advertising.

The U.S. has 14 kids nets and Germany has nine.

"Broadcasters view the children's audience as one of the least rewarding in terms of advertising revenues," said report author Tim Westcott, who added that, despite the tough environment, producers can still make money in such areas as animation and commercial opportunities.
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