Sweeps periods in the Fall season seemed only entertained by a few networks willing to refurbish an entire programming block, while traditional lulls in continuity could be found as the Holiday weeks rolled in. Similarly, while some networks flat lined with zero change with key audiences, others plunged, while others yet re-discovered the power of high schoolers singing musicals... One glaring purpose of Q3 and Q4 ratings are to offer producers and network executives a hint of what programming options should be accelerated, scaled down or multiplied as they bridge the forthcoming year. To bring to light, or in the very least, hold over a flickering matchstick, developing tendencies of key demographics. The Third and Fourth Quarters are, at its widest margins, the summer months on through December, if not frequently flowing on into the New Year (often meshing calendar, fiscal and programming agendas).
It should be noted at the onset that the vast majority of these statistics are gleaned from Nielson Media Research Live + Same Day ratings as well as Overnight results, which are drawn from year-to-year comparisons; the analysis of which is pulled from a week-to-week (month-by-month) observation, on a network-by-network basis. The larger picture of cable television networks delivering animation nevertheless finds recurrent trends and new traditions. Cartoon Network, despite the addition of one or two powerful new programs, continues to dramatically slide; Adult Swim, CN's drunken frat brother, shows little movement; the Nicktoons Network continues to quietly grow beyond imagination; and the Disney Channel, as many expected, patiently waited to feast on the precision found in High School Musical 2.
|Page Two:||Cartoon Network (cont'd) & Adult Swim|
|Page Four:||Nicktoons Net. & Comedy Central|
|Page Five:||Disney Channel & Toon Disney|
|Page Six:||Weekend / Sat. Morning|
|Page Seven:||Central / S. America (broadcast television)|
Now for a full calendar year, Cartoon Network has exhibited declining numbers for key children demographics. Both individually through a month-by-month comparative analysis as well as through a more aggregative look on a Quarterly level, Cartoon Network is down. Although some may have been optimistic for the channel given their July 2007 record high number of visitors to the network website (www.CartoonNetwork.com), spending an average of 77 minutes; it yet remains true that with Kids 6-11 and Kids 2-11, Cartoon Network is losing ground to everyone else.
Starting as far back as the summer months -- that is to say, Nielson's "Summer Ratings" (May 28th through August 26th) -- Cartoon Network was down a hefty 14% with a 1.2 average (P2+, Primetime), when compared to the previous summer ratings season. Though not in last place for cable television altogether, the drop significantly represents or encapsulates the network's seasonal trend.
In the Third Quarter specifically, Cartoon Network fell an unbelievable 17% (K6-11, Total Program Day), marking their largest cyclical decline in well over a year's time.