Double Dare Returns, But Kids TV Is Not What It Used To Be

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    I know this is off the topic of the changes in childrens’ programming, but I had to post this.. Great behind the scenes Double Dare retrospective here:

    https://tv.avclub.com/it-smelled-like-death-an-oral-history-of-the-double-1798255802Report

  2. Avatar Maribou says:

    I think this is all of a piece with larger shifts in TV programming due to streaming, right? Or is there an amplified effect with kids? Where does that graph fit against an average of Cable TV in general?

    Also I’m curious about how children’s tv on non-cable stations (the big 3 and PBS) is faring, comparatively.

    Also also, I’m curious about how Nielsen’s response rates are doing compared to 20 years ago. They actually wanted us to be a Nielsen family one year, and it was such a PITA that despite my initial enthusiasm, I didn’t end up sending in my surveys.

    (You don’t need to answer any of these questions, though if anyone has answers I’d love to hear them – just thinking out loud about the context for this…)Report

    • Someone more expert than me can comment but I did run across two interesting points while reading earlier. The 2017 basic cable viewership can be found here
      But the real story on cable is this: in the first quarter of FY2017, Netflix surpassed major cable operators in subscriptions. All of them. Combined. And Ad revenue is falling as subscriptions get more expensive, and depending on whose numbers you believe is either getting ready to or already is underwater. Cable is coaxial in a bluetooth world.Report

      • As my television watching evolved from “I have to watch the following shows!” to “Eh, I’ll turn it on to see what’s on…” to “I’ll watch the Cartoon Network during loading screens”, it made less and less sense to pay $40, $50, $60/month for cable.

        If you *NEED* to watch a particular show the moment it airs, it might make sense to pay for cable. (Depends on the *NEED*.)

        If you don’t need to watch any given show within moments of it airing? Jeez. How much of why you have a television in the first place is given to you by a mere Netflix subscription?Report

      • @andrew-donaldson Interesting.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Maribou says:

      I have all the same questions as you. Well, you have some I didn’t think of, but wished I had.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    If the numbers are in a free fall and not expected to recover, I’m not sure how that can be called a healthy business.Report

  4. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    Yeah it’s about streaming. Even with kids, there’s a huge advantage to being able to watch your favorite show when it fits into the schedule. Fit them into your schedule, not fit your schedule into the cable lineup.

    Double Dare was awesome, and I think they could revive that show and make some money off it by streaming it. It’s just a question of when these guys decide they need to jump. Also, I don’t think a Nickelodeon streaming service, by itself, would probably have enough to justify a subscription. But it might, if they include back catalog.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    When I was in elementary school in the mid-1980s, Saturday Morning Cartoons were a thing on all the major Network channels or so I remember. I also gradually remember it being reduced to only Fox and then not at all. Now I guess that most of it is dominated by Disney, Cartoon Network, Nick, and streaming.

    Streaming just changes things in general. I don’t watch much TV because I am an artsy snob but the TV I do watch can be done on my schedule and for minimal additional costs.Report

    • Avatar fillyjonk in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I remember how huge Saturday Morning Cartoons were. I grew up in a pre-cable time – or rather, my parents didn’t get cable until I was well-on in college (or maybe even grad school), so having a few hours a week devoted to programming for kids (1) was important to my brother and me.

      I don’t have kids but I think a couple things are coming into play:

      1. On-demand streaming, as others have said
      2. YouTube. I know some people who have very heavily curated playlists for their kids and that’s what their kids can watch
      3. DVDs, though that may be declining some (my family didn’t have a VCR until I was in high school. I remember how you WAITED for things like the annual showing of “The Wizard of Oz” and woe betide you if you got in big enough trouble to have tv privileges revoked that week)
      4. Video games
      5. Kids’ sports becoming more prevalent with more practices – when I was a kid, it was maybe for an hour or two on a Saturday, but that was it. Now, I know some kids who have two or three day a week practices, plus games. Kids don’t have time.

      I dunno. I like cartoons and I watch mostly cartoons. I would be sad if all the cartoons aimed at kids went away. Don’t get me wrong – I like “Bob’s Burgers” but I love some of the kid-aimed cartoons and they are an escape for me.

      And I don’t have Netflix. Don’t @ me. I just can’t justify paying for it on top of the cable and internet. (Yes, I have cable. Would have zero tv reception, not even local channels, without it, and it usually stays on even when the internet is out)

      (1) there were a couple indie channels in our market – 43 and later 19 – that ran some cartoons during the weekdays and re-runs of things like 60s sitcoms after school, but there was no all-cartoon channelReport

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I remember Double Dare and other programs from Nickelodeon when I was a kid. They used their cable niche to air things that you couldn’t do on normal America television like the relative risqué humor for kids of Canada’s You Can’t Do that on Television or only slightly edited French cartoons like the Mysterious Cities of Gold and Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea. There was also British stuff like Duckula and Danger Mouse. Kids knew that Nick was given them the good stuff and wasn’t going to do bland moralizing on them.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    My boys almost exclusively watch streaming… mostly Netflix, some OnDemand. Zazzy also has some iPad apps (like PBS) that streams as well but I don’t know how that works.

    The benefits are multiple, including some high quality content (Octonauts are a particular fave) or overseas shows dubbed (like Super Wings), no commercials (the boys actually don’t even really know what a commercial is), accessibility, and some bite size shows that are just 12 nins long.

    Sometimes I worry about the instant gratification of a literal On Demand thing,, but we develop tech to make life bett e and I manage my inner curmudgeon by being selective about if/when they watch.Report

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