Kids’ WB ready to fill void

Nov 26, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Fox Kids Network’s weekday demise could be Kids’ WB’s gain.
Set to become the lone broadcast network to clear kids programming in pattern (3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) this season, Kids’ WB is looking to grab more ratings and a larger share of ad dollars from its cable network competitors Nickelodeon and The Cartoon Network.
“We do hope to get a decent bump in scatter, but we anticipated this [Fox Kids Network’s weekday exit] coming down after the Disney acquisition,” said Jed Petrick, president and chief operating officer of The WB. “We took a shot at this happening in the upfront [kids ad market] when we sold the bulk of our time, so we’re well-positioned to take advantage of it.”
While Fox has seen double-digit percentage ratings declines, Kids’ WB has been up or even. In boys 2 to 11, Kids’ WB’s weekday lineup is posting a 2.0 rating/12 share average, up 11 percent year to year this season. Among its core boys 6 to 11 demographic target (2.2/14) Kids’ WB has held even year to year, while Fox Kids Network dropped a precipitous 50 percent in the key demo (1.1/12) due to the one-hour-earlier start time at 2 p.m. for its block.
During last summer’s kids upfront, which marked the fourth year of what has been a contracting market for all broadcast and cable network kids purveyors, Kids’ WB and sister AOL Time Warner-owned Cartoon Network combined ad sales for the first time.
Although cost-per-thousand rates were flat or down a couple percent year to year, Cartoon and Kids’ WB increased their overall market share to about 35 percent (or about $245 million to $262.5 million) of the $700 million to $750 million estimated total kids upfront market. Viacom’s Nickelodeon networks, which hold about 40 percent market share, are estimated to have taken in $300 million plus.
Kids’ WB is also benefiting on weekdays and weekends from promotion on Cartoon. The two networks share promotion of Cartoon’s Toonami block, and individual Kids’ WB shows regularly get plugs on the cable network.
Mr. Petrick also hinted at other “sponsored participant promotions” being put into the works for “off-air,” in-store-type promotions, but he declined to identify the new advertising partners as the deals are still being finalized.