With Viacom’s cable channels blacked out for DirecTV’s 20 million subscribers while the two media giants wage war over carriage fees, some of Viacom’s rival cable channels are experiencing a mini-boom.
In particular, the Disney Channel, the Hub and other channels that target children are benefiting from the carriage standoff, with parents forced to sample beyond Viacom’s Nickelodeon to find shows for their kids, reports Brian Stelter in The New York Times.
On the day before the blackout, Nickelodeon drew 1.76 million viewers during the day, which dropped to 1.23 million once Viacom’s channels were dropped from the satellite service, the story notes. At the same time, the Disney Channel seemed to pick up some of that audience, "though it is hard to draw a direct connection between the DirecTV blackout and the Disney gains," the story says.
The Disney Channel averaged about 1.64 million viewers during the first six months of the year. The network jumped to 2.27 million viewers for the first five days of the DirecTV blackout of Viacom networks.
The Hub, a small network owned by Discovery Communications and Hasbro, also saw gains. It jumped to 159,000 viewers during the blackout, compared with 88,000 before the dispute.
“The first two days were rough on my toddler,” Mary Pedone Howard wrote on Viacom’s Facebook wall. "Leave it to a 3-year-old to show mom that adaptation is a great thing,” she noted of her daughter’s new request to watch the Disney Channel.