Netflix May Say Buh-Bye to SpongeBob

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Remember a few years ago when Nickelodeon was blaming its diminished ratings on Netflix and the popularity of its animated series SpongeBob SquarePants on the disc/streaming service? Well, the absorbent yellow dude might have to find a new culprit soon as Netflix announced that it plans to let its deal to carry Nickelodeon, BET and MTV content expire next month. The vid sub service did note that it might continue to keep licensing some of the cablers’ shows.

Netflix said it has been moving away from broad, multi-year deals with networks and cable channels, in favor of more selective licensing arrangements to carry programs that will work best for its subscribers.

Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings, in a letter to shareholders, said a recent deal with Warner Bros. Television illustrates the subscription service’s more handpicked approach to programming. 

“Many of our earliest deals were with networks and cable networks and included some shows that have not proven successful,” Hastings wrote. He further added that cable networks often hold back the most popular shows for as long as possible to keep cable and satellite distributors happy. “By dealing directly with producers of TV shows, we are better positioned to pick just those shows that we believe will work best, and secure rights that may be otherwise blocked by TV carriage and transmission deals.”

“With all the recently added fresh programming from Disney, Cartoon Network, Hasbro’s The Hub and DreamWorks Animation, we have a great kids offering,” Hastings added.

Analysts believe that Viacom’s distribution deal with Netflix was hurting Nickelodeon’s regular viewership.

SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants

  • Mateus Honrado

    I don’t think the whole Nickelodeon catalogue will be phased out, I just think that the network should just allow their content in Netflix as some shows that have ended been proven popular on Netflix, for example Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  • jniffen

    Well the Sponge Bob was only for the first five seasons.
    Which are also available on DVD sets.

  • Jane

    My kids adore SpongeBob Square Pants, and I couldn’t imagine having to explain to them that they can’t watch him anymore. I first heard this news as I was leaving my office at DISH today, and the set date for SpongeBob to come down is the 22nd of this month. I’m glad that DISH’s Blockbuster @Home doesn’t put me in the position of telling my kids they can’t watch their favorite cartoons. They have over 100,000 titles, including all eight seasons of SpongeBob and his movies, so my kids always have something that they love to watch.

  • Mateus Honrado

    Thank goodness, it’s only affecting the US version, not the UK version because I have the UK version.