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.