Nick Continues Saturday Streak

Jun 6, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Nickelodeon has taken the cartoon crown for Saturday morning for the eighth straight season.

Nick averaged a 4.8 rating among kids 2 to 11, representing a 22 share, or 1.9 million viewers for Saturday mornings during the 2004-05 TV season, according to Nielsen Media Research. The previous season’s third-place finisher Cartoon Network moved up to second place with a 2.5/11 and 1 million viewers, passing last year’s second-place finisher Kids WB, which rang up a 2.0/9 with 801,000 viewers. Disney Channel also registered a 2.0/9, with 793,000 viewers.

While the growth of kids’ cable networks has diluted the importance of Saturday mornings, defined as 8 a.m. to noon, it is still a key daypart.

“We set our sights 20 years ago on Saturday morning broadcast because that was the place that everybody thought was important, and we’ve been able to sustain a leadership position there,” said Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon. “And while we don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all, it’s still a great testament to our success.”

She noted that Nick’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” remains the top-rated show among kids and that its new entry, “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” was also on the top 10 list. In fact, all of the top 10 shows in both the 2 to 11 and the 6 to 11 demos were Nick shows.

“As we introduce new properties, making room for them on Saturday is important,” Ms. Zarghami said. The network has a new series called “Catscratch,” coming in July. “We haven’t decided yet whether it’s going to play on Saturday. I think eventually it probably will.”

“Avatar” originally launched on Friday night and later moved to Saturday.

With kids changing their habits and doing more of their viewing while multitasking with their computers and other devices, Nickelodeon is on the lookout for other ways to reach kids.

“There are probably ways for us to reinvent how we serve Saturday morning,” Ms. Zarghami said. “It’s intriguing to think about packaging it as a daypart that could be interactive or deeply convergent with the Internet.”

But she added that Saturday morning is still important from a programming perspective. Winning Saturday morning “allows us to establish how we’re going to perform for the weekend, because if they come on Saturday morning, that’s where they’re going to make their decisions for the rest of the weekend.”

Nickelodeon was also the top-rated network among kids 6 to 11 and tweens 9 to 14 on Saturday morning. Last year The WB was the top network for tweens on Saturday morning. Among tweens, Cartoon Network moved up to third place, passing ABC and Fox.