Nickelodeon may have its problems with inexplicable lower viewer ratings -- but that can't be said of other niche and smaller kids' TV networks.
The PBS Kids programming block says it has seen a strong ratings rise in nearly every demographic recently versus a year ago. That's especially true for shows "Curious George" and "Super Why," per Nielsen's live-plus-seven-day ratings data from Sept. 27, 2010 to Sept. 25, 2011.
As a response, PBS Kids has picked up new corporate sponsors -- kids' shoemaker Stride Rite, which launched in September on "Curious George" and education company Age of Learning, starting up in November for "SuperWhy" and "Wild Kratts."
In particular, PBS Kids says it made big gains with kids 6-8, growing 30% year-over-year.
The Boston-based Sponsorship Group for Public Television, which sells sponsorships for the PBS shows, says corporate sponsorships for "Martha Speaks" and "Curious George" are currently sold out but "Curious George" will have an opening January 2012.
Suzanne Zellner, vice president of corporate sponsorship for the Sponsorship Group for Public Television, stated: "Sponsors can reach an even larger audience in PBS Kids’ quality, uncluttered environment.”
Looking at new preschool kids' programming efforts, Disney Junior, which targets kids 2-7 on the Disney Channel, says it has had double-digit percent gains over a year ago, among virtually all demographics, including women ages 18-49.
One show in particular has been a highlight -- "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," which has turned into a major player with boys 2-5.
Discovery/Hasbro's The Hub has made gains this season over last -- up 11% in total day numbers among kids 6-11 to 20,000 viewers; rising 40% to kids 2-11 to 42,000 -- as well as higher women 18-49 viewers, 19,000, growing 19%.
Nickelodeon says there has been unexplained steep declines in many of its ratings this fall -- anywhere from 15% to 20% -- according to Nielsen. But it notes that comparable set-top box data declines are much more modest.