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A Decline in Ratings | What can be done...?

Discussion in 'The toonzone - General Animation Discussion' started by ChibiGoku, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. ChibiGoku

    ChibiGoku Something Not Quite Right

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    I think it's no secret to anyone, over the past 3 or so years, networks from across the board have seen sharp declines in viewership. While this phenomenon isn't unique to just Children's television, it does seem to be hitting it the worst compared to networks with a wider target demographic (generally Adults). A lot of this can be attributed to more accessibility to content online, such as YouTube and to a degree Netflix, as well as ease of access to digital streaming from mobile to tablet devices compared to years prior.

    DHX had posted a graph in their earnings report (I believe) which kinda illustrates just how low these drops have become:

    [​IMG]

    While these are clearly the average for all the networks combined, it's worth noting that Cartoon Network drops even below this point (ranging from 800K to 1.2M on average for total viewers to most things not Teen Titans Go), but even Nickelodeon is struggling as well to a degree. (Note: I haven't really checked to see how Disney has been doing overall, but from recent memory, Disney XD's ratings have seen a drop as well)

    Now this brings up an important question: With the ratings clearly dropping and it's probably going to get worse over the next couple of years, what is the next step? Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon have experimented with putting content on Digital services (such as On Demand and Streaming through their app) prior to the Television broadcasts, but I'm not sure if this is a perfect solution. DHX seems to considering and moving forward putting focus on YouTube going forward, which, given how many kids watch content on site, is honestly a smart move (probably even smarter than Netflix at this point, given the site's low renewal rate on kids content).

    But what about these major networks? Obviously they are running a network and if they focus solely on digital content, it will continue to negatively impact their network. But at the same time, I don't think the audience is really interested in watching live television much any more. From people I've talked to who have kids or nieces/nephews, seems that they really are focusing on watching stuff on YouTube and the like, rather than even watching on TV anymore. And I imagine as the months go on, this trend is going to continue to get bigger and bigger.

    So I don't know. What do you think can be done? I'm honestly at a loss right now, because I don't think there's any perfect solution to this.
     
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    #1 ChibiGoku, Oct 19, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2016
  2. ToonJay723

    ToonJay723 Bingo Bongo

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    Ratings have been going down for a long time. In the 1980s, children's television made money on it's own since ratings were high and with the way TV shows were broadcasted back then. Local stations paid the companies to air them, instead of now where they're no longer getting money upfront before it airs.

    Also, Greg Weissman says in 2014 that Gargoyles had only above average ratings, yet they were still higher than the highest rated kid show at the time.

    I believe the future is streaming. People nowadays make less effort to see live TV and prefer to DVR it or stream it on Hulu. DreamWorks deal with Netflix is their most profitable asset. Something to note is that they're making money on just the program it self, they didn't need merchandise or countless reruns to do it, which is how cartoons were during the syndication era of the 80s and 90s.

    So I think what should be done, for the children shows at least, is go where the viewers and money are.

    As for adult shows on the major networks, I think they're safe, at least for now. Advertisers are still spending a lot of money on ad space for most shows, and the ones that don't like Bob's Burgers and the CW shows still find success of syndication and streaming.
     
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    #2 ToonJay723, Oct 20, 2016
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  3. Daikun

    Daikun Long Live the Fighter!
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    Nothing can be done. It's a losing battle; technology has evolved. Cord cutting has increased. On-demand streaming is on the rise while being a slave to a live schedule has gone down.

    All we can hope to do is watch what we can to slow the decline.
     
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  4. jaylop97

    jaylop97 L Twins

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    The best I could say is that channels really do need to step up their variety of show they have so they could get more people to tune in.
     
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  5. I.R. Shokew

    I.R. Shokew DISGRACED and Rooting ONLY for Underdogs

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    ...Just let the world burn on this one, m8. We'll all be a lot happier when we (if we do, that is!) get more action and drama in our Western output from this, too, stretch that that sounds like! Still... I'm proudly saying, just let it all burn.

    I just wish I could get my family to cut our (non-internet) cords already.
     
  6. Toon4Thought

    Toon4Thought Giving a slightly closer look.

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    Well, more channels should definitely focus more on statistics regarding their apps and On Demand services rather than live broadcasts, as Nielsen ratings have become all but obsolete in terms of cable.

    In terms of major networks, I think a lot of people still watch news and sports live from there, but even then those can often be viewed through plenty of other means, what with the convenience of looking up news on the internet and official team websites. And that's not even going into how primetime shows have basically fallen into the same trap as cable, especially given how a lot of those can be found on somewhere like Hulu just the next day. So I think they should focus more on streaming services as well; I'd argue it's even more important for them than cable, given how much people rely on what they offer in particular.

    The only thing I'm kind of stuck on are shows like MLP that are on channels that no one cares about. It clearly gets like four times as many viewers online, but they aren't ever intended to be viewed through said means, so I don't think that can be considered a solution. Anyone have any ideas there?
     
  7. Mikurotoro92

    Mikurotoro92 Banned

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    I hate to bring this up again, but maybe things would be better if channels (not just kids' channels BTW) stopped airing the same shows ad nauseum!

    Also the non-kids channels might be safe for now, but eventually the people who watch these channels will follow all the kids & move to Youtube & online streaming, if they haven't already!

    Just look at my mom if you want to see this in effect: she mainly watches shows on Netflix

    (with a few exceptions)

    What then?

    Maybe people just don't like watching TV anymore idk, but I think part of this (besides what I said about airing the shows ad nauseum) is that people are sick & tired of all the violence & graphic sex on TV!

    This is the main reason why I continue to watch all the shows I watched as a kid & I also suspect it's why the Brony movement is so big!
     
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    #7 Mikurotoro92, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  8. Gear3dGryph0n

    Gear3dGryph0n Active Member

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    I swear I thought I had made a thread on this and it got deleted or lost or something...or maybe I forgot to post it altogether.

    It's pretty much inevitable and the trends don't lie; streaming TV is the future and linear networks may as well start moving on from those Ted Turner business models. For a while, Nick, Disney, and CN could have afforded to be complacent given their cornering of the market and lack of competition ever since Saturday Morning blocks were effectively nuked by the mid-2000s, but the industry has been massively disrupted in cascades since the onset of the 2010s; first in movies and cable content, then with premium and original content, and now that's spreading to basic content as well, including cartoons. Considering that kids today are used to having SVOD services always on-demand, it would be difficult to imagine them consuming their content the way we did, just as we imagined that Saturday Morning, at one time, was bulletproof.

    I have a few comprehensive ideas for how channels can better manage the upcoming wave of change:

    • Better budget management. With online streaming becoming more important, mainstream animation is going to be looking into what looks like the Vortex of Doom; revenues will go down from the lack of advertising on some services, competition and the division of the audience's attention means there's less demand, and all of that happens while budgets for the shows probably remain the same. Most of all, profits go through a middleman (the owner of the network, that is Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon) after the networks had finally perfected a vertically-integrated pipeline for producing and distributing content and kicked all the third-party shows to the morning timeslots or the secondary channels. The solution here is to control budgets by saving on certain areas of the production; combine or eliminate some roles, give some shows shorter runs, use different software packages, telecommute instead of sticking with local talent, etc. Cut down on frills for most of the productions, and save them for the more successful ones.
    • Include teens and young adults. If there's one thing that's for sure on the Internet, we know a lot of teens and young adults watch animation, and yet they are continually on the margins of mainstream animation's core focus. The future of Internet television belongs to niche audiences, those who have previously been underserved by mainstream offerings. If there's any more to profile about older animation fans, they tend to be very loyal fans, wielding their buying power to consume merchandise in enormous quantities and even sometimes offering up their labor to create merchandise as a side hustle. Many of them still count traditional television as their first way of getting into new content, so why do the networks continue to ignore this?
    • Use TV to advertise your online content. Use TV in the same vein that pre-movie programs like FirstLook use the theater to advertise new television programs to a captive audience. Show specials and do cross-promotions between shows on the TV network and the online network.
    • Create multi-platform media franchises. Powerhouse franchises like Star Wars and Marvel are heavily in vogue right now and Disney is profiting handsomely from this. But to take it even further you have to make sure that not only is the TV cartoon or the movie good, but that the video game or the comic book is equally worthy of grabbing the audience's excitement. Even better - do what few franchises do and put works from different media in the same canon, that way viewers are compelled to consume more and not be as selective.
    • Bottom-up organization that knows where to look for talent, and pre-existing content with a built-in audience. Too many big decisions at the networks are being made by people who come from solely a business background with little to no experience on the creative side, and this is how it's been for decades. The Internet is more spontaneous and provides more direct feedback. Additionally, social networks make it far easier to spot not only talent, but also great ideas looking for funding that have potential audiences already built in, like Zachary Rich and True Tail for example, who has built up an audience by way of his work in the Brony fandom and his studio's use of social media to document their production and pitching process. Amazon also has a program where the audience votes on which pilots get picked up; while that has disadvantaged animated series in the past, a proper implementation could hearken back to the days of fan-driven breakouts like Codename: Kids Next Door's win of Cartoon Network's Big Pick, or shorts programs like What a Cartoon!, KaBlam, et al.

    I think the declining overall numbers are inevitably a result of fragmenting audiences as a result of the massive increase in entertainment options, but can not be the absolute death of the medium unless it evolves to fit with changing viewership habits. Content curators need to become flexible without stretching their budgets too thin, and need to take advantage of the wide amount of tools and vast networks available for keeping new ideas and talent flowing.
     
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  9. Mikurotoro92

    Mikurotoro92 Banned

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    I think a possible solution is for the networks to stop with (or at the very least significantly cut back on) all the graphic sex & violence in their shows!

    Seriously people are sick of it

    I mean some things should stay private

    We DON'T need to see two characters on TV getting intimate with each other!

    Obviously this only applies to non-kids' channels though
     
    #9 Mikurotoro92, Oct 28, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  10. WickedChild

    WickedChild Kissing the shadows

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    On this subject, I'd just like to note that 17 million people tuned in last Sunday night to watch a guy bash two peoples' heads in with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Moreover, they all KNEW it was going to happen.

    And the filthiest show sex-wise is Game of Thrones, which might be the second most popular show on TV right now.

    So yeah...no.
     
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  11. Dudley

    Dudley Moderator
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    I read in a Kidscreen article that Disney's Future Worm is produced in varying lengths like 2, 7 or 11 minutes. This is done so they can air individual shorts online, while also air them in a traditional 22-minute linear TV format.
    Making content for the web exclusively is a high risk business. Especially since no one wants to pay for content, and don't even want to sit through an ad when content is free, so sticking to the internet or more specifically, YouTube, is not a sound business plan. Even series that's primarily seen or made for YouTube by larger companies air on TV (if not in the States, elsewhere) or are repackaged and sold to streaming sites like Netflix.
    Giving people on YouTube a sample of what can be watched on TV is the best move, while also let TV viewers know that the network's content can be watched online. I noticed Disney's networks tell viewers on TV to watch their content anytime they want on their branded apps or onDemand, which is good because you can't install Adblock devices on mobile devices.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. SaneMan

    SaneMan Well-Known Member

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    Just move the whole thing to on-line streaming already
     
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  13. wonderfly

    wonderfly Shaking things up a bit
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    That's probably the way to go, but what I'm hoping is that Cartoon Network (or any of the networks, really) still find a way to come across as a "channel", and not just as a "digital platform" for people to access episodes of a show.

    To feel like a channel, you still need "DJ's" to promote the products (like what TOM does for Toonami, or kinda like how back in the 90's, Space Ghost used to represent Cartoon Network as a whole, or if you remember the live action cast of "Fridays" promoting cartoons, etc). To use the DJ comparison some more, it's the difference between just listening to your music playlist on Pandora or IHeart Radio, versus listening to a radio station where a DJ relays stories about the band and he shares the occasional entertainment news story.

    You need stuff like that, or otherwise, it's just a "digital platform".
     
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  14. Dr.Pepper

    Dr.Pepper Well-Known Member

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    I think they should keep track of how much people watch on their apps or On Demand.
    A lot of people aren't sick of it, but I think it would be refreshing to see a PG-rated show that gets the attention that shows like Walking Dead or Game of Throne get.
     
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    #14 Dr.Pepper, Nov 23, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  15. Dudley

    Dudley Moderator
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    I like how Adult Swim has multiple live streams that can be watched on their app (and I think on their website too) that holds marathons of their shows, one for animation and one for live action, two different feeds for different timezones, and even a Toonami feed.
    I think CN and other animation channels should do this as well. Heck, maybe studios that own large library of animation content like DHX Media should try as well.
    The question is how it's going to be monetized. I think being part of the cable provider's subscription is a plus, but I think the main problem is that, like linear television, the advertisements don't target the individual viewer. Using Google's advertisement algorithm or creating something similar and finding a way to plant those in commercial breaks will be great to cater to the needs of the individual, that decreasing their dependence on catering to specific demographics, and making viewers outside of them matter more.


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  16. SaneMan

    SaneMan Well-Known Member

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    I em pretty sure they would at least have some news announcers
     
  17. SuperFan2024

    SuperFan2024 Shoo fly.

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    Just like what many of you said, Cable TV just isn't what it used to be. Streaming, and binge-watching are starting to overshadow live TV, and it's become highly apparent over these past years and months. And services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and more are obviously the reasons for this. Not to mention streaming Live TV services like Sling TV, Hulu... again, PS Vue, DirectTV Now, and Youtube's upcoming live TV streaming service.

    Streaming services are a huge competitor to cable services. Imo, they have more programming, as well as cheaper prices. For cable, bills generally go up due to equipment fees with prices in total exceeding maybe even 100$ per month. With these high prices, as well as channels that few even watch, this may anger cable users, and eventually cause them to eventually cut the cord, where this has been a genuine process for many, that still continues now.

    It's inevitable. Cable is dying without a doubt. Slowly maybe, but it's still dying, and this thread's already enough proof for that.

    As for the answer to the main post, there's really nothing that can be done for cable's decline. Why? Because there's already a solution: streaming. It may not be the best, but it's still growing, and cable is still dying.
     
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  18. sasq

    sasq Active Member

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    In my opinion, the only way to save cable television is to move the channels to terrestrial television.

    In Italy, for example, no one has to pay huge bills or worry about not seeing Adventure Time, because it airs on a free-to-air channel, and has a wider audience, while in the US that's not the case.

    Does Fox really need all those local stations? their programs are known by everyone, in Italy shows like The Simpsons or Family Guy don't air on multiple local stations, but on two channels, both national and owned by the same company.

    There's no doubt that cable television is dying, and if CN or any other cable channels want more viewers and better ratings, they should all move.
     
  19. Checkerboard

    Checkerboard THE HOME OF THE TOP TOON STARS

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    Move to Central Europe where the situation is the direct opposite :D
     
  20. sasq

    sasq Active Member

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    I am italian, not american.
     

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