Netflix Erodes Kids' Networks, Syndicated TV Audiences (Study)

SpongeBob Squarepants - cartoon still - 2010
Courtesy of Nickelodeon

A new report insists that the streaming service only benefits scripted originals and news among traditional TV viewership.

Netflix may have woes with recent quarterly losses valued at $5 million, but the streaming and DVD-to-mail service's wide reach is still having quite an effect on the way its subscribers consume traditional television.

According to a report issued by Bernstein Research on Thursday, there has been a major shift in regular viewing habits among streaming watchers -- and it's been away from syndicated programming (repeats), sports and kids' networks -- and not just the ratings-challenged Nickelodeon.

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All three have seen steady erosion among streaming subscribers in the last year. And with youth-oriented broadcasts in particular, where the consumers are clearly siding with Netflix, the report posits that Disney and Viacom (which owns Nickelodeon) would both lose $75 million in revenue starting with the 2013 fiscal year, should they pull their content from the service.

Not all traditional TV has been been adversely affected by the rise of streaming. Movies, general entertainment originals, news and, most notably, scripted broadcast originals have seen gains among Netflix users.

The trend suggests that the streaming users are also media aficionados, driven to like movies, comedy and "smart" entertainment. That also means they are considered unlikely to cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions and see the Netflix as an additional provider and not a substitute.

But since those streaming users are also more likely to have children, common sense seems to suggest kids' networks would eventually see some sort of rebound if their parent companies' ever limited their content's streaming options.