New Shows Draw Kids

Nov 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Heading into the holiday season, a new wave of children’s programming has helped drive dramatic year-to-year viewership improvements at several kids programming outlets.
For example, Disney Channel’s “Lilo & Stitch: The Animated Series,” which premiered Sept. 3, has already taken first place among all Monday-through-Friday kids series in key season-to-date ratings. The series ranks first in households with a 1.4 rating so far in the 2003-04 season and ranks first in both kids 2 to 11 with a 3.4 score and boys 2 to 11 with a 3.4 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.
That platform has helped Disney’s overall numbers rise 62 percent over last year in kids 6 to 11 as of mid-October.
Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans” and Nickelodeon’s “My Life as a Teenage Robot” also have posted strong starts in their debuts since the summer.
And there’s more new fare to come. New programs on The Kids’ WB and on the Discovery Kids Block on NBC were scheduled to join the fray over the weekend, just in time for the November ratings sweeps.
Cartoon Network got an earlier start to the season, launching “Teen Titans” July 19. The series recently heated up weekend prime time on Cartoon Network with a top ranking in its time periods on basic cable among boys 6 to 11 and 2 to 11. The Sunday 10 p.m. telecast also expanded the number of kids 6 to 11 watching by 149 percent and ratings (2.8) by 155 percent compared with the same time period last year. Total kids 2 to 11 viewers increased by 189 percent and ratings in the demo (2.9) were up by 190 percent. On Saturday at 9 p.m., the program improved kids 6 to 11 delivery by 150 percent and ratings (3.9) by 160 percent, while kids 2 to 11 delivery jumped by 74 percent and ratings (2.9) by 71 percent.
On Nickelodeon, “My Life as a Teenage Robot” has continued building since its debut. Since premiering Aug. 1, “Teenage Robot” has earned a 5.4/21 rating/share in kids 2 to 11. . On Friday, Oct. 24, it built again, posting a 7.1/24 among kids 2 to 11 with an all-new episode premiere. The ratings performance marked an 11 percent improvement over year-ago numbers and 26 percent jump over previous four-week levels. Not only was it the highest-rated animated series on Nickelodeon on Friday night but it also posted the show’s best kids 2 to 11 performance so far.
On the broadcast stations, Fox Box has shown overall year-to-year growth, thanks to recent acquisitions, including last spring’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” But the fresh face making waves within the block programmed by distributor 4Kids Entertainment, may be “Shaman King.” Though “Sonic X” started an additional run last weekend on the Fox programming block, “Shaman King” is matching “Sonic” in a number of key demos. For the week ending Oct. 26, “Shaman” and “Sonic” tied among kids 2 to 11at a 1.9. Though the Fox Box tends to target boys, “Shaman” has drawn a respectable girl base, outperforming “Sonic X” in both girls 2 to 11 and 6 to 11 with ratings of 1.4 and 1.5, respectively.
Ratings results are still to come for the debuts of Kids’ WB series “Xiaolin Showdown”-which executives at the outlet are pushing as a potential breakout hit-as well as “Kenny the Shark” and “Tutenstein” on NBC’s Discovery Kids block. Both debuted Nov. 1. In addition, Kids’ WB began airing episodes of Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans,” which should provide exposure to a new audience through broadcast.
Ratings spikes came as no surprise to members of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The group released a study last week detailing the amount of time children are spending immersed in media. The report said that children 6 and under spend an average of two hours a day using screen media, about the same amount of time they spend playing outside and well over the amount they spend reading or being read to (39 minutes).
“It’s not just teenagers who are wired up and tuned in, it’s babies in diapers as well,” said Vicky Rideout, VP and director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and Health, the lead author of the study. “So much new media is being targeted at infants and toddlers, it’s critical that we learn more about the impact it’s having on child development.”