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Cable Show 2012: Panel: Nick's Netflix Ratings Troubles Good for Ops

Complete Coverage: Cable Show 2012

Boston - Nickelodeon's recent ratings falloff, fueled in part by Netflix viewing of the kids' network, could be the catalyst that pushes programmers away from over-the-top providers, UBS cable analyst John Hodulik said at a panel discussion at The Cable Show Monday.

Nickelodeon ratings have plunged more than 30% in the past several months, in part because of cannibalization by Netflix. That was first pointed out by Sanford Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger, who in a report in April compared set-top data from TiVo that showed that Netflix viewing helped fuel the ratings decline.

In a panel discussion entitled Street Smarts: Investment Analysts on the State of Media and the Markets, Hodulik noted that other programmers, like Time Warner Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes, have pointed to Netflix and other subscription VOD services for depressing ratings. On a recent conference call with analysts, Bewkes noted that Cartoon Network, which does not have a Netflix deal, saw its ratings rise about 16% in the first quarter.

"That's phenomenal that the media industry is seeing the pain before the cable industry," Hodulik said. "That's going to be top of mind for Jeff Bewkes and [Viacom CEO] Philippe [Dauman] and it came at just the right time. They've got to realize that there is a problem with the front-line economics."

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