DIC Kids' Network Morphs Into Teen Version In '07

The kids' TV market is having a tough year--for national networks and local stations alike. Now it has claimed a real casualty: a kids' syndication company.

DIC Entertainment has decided to end its four-year run of its Monday-through-Friday DIC Kids Network because of lower national and local ad revenues.

Instead, DIC sees a better market in teen programming. So starting next year, at the National Association of Television Program Executives meeting in January, DIC will sell the DIC Teen Network to local TV stations.

Andy Heyward, chairman/CEO of DIC Entertainment, told Broadcasting & Cable: "It's hard for stations to sell local time against kids 6-11. Since there is little appetite for kids' shows at the local-advertising level, stations have expressed to us their desire to turn this into the DIC Teen Network." Much of this request came from Tribune Broadcasting, which runs the DIC Kids Network.

"Andy couldn't be more correct," says Shelly Hirsch, CEO of Beacon Media LLC, a New York-based kids' media-buying company. "There is no reason for advertisers to buy local spot kids' programming." Hirsch says that many advertisers' needs are handled with national TV companies, such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, or those Saturday-morning kids' programming services on the broadcast nets.



DIC Kids' Network ran on as many as 450 affiliates--either in morning or afternoon strips during the week, or as a three-hour branded block on weekends. But the block rarely ran in sequence, which hurt its ability to be sold as a real network.

This upfront ad season, DIC was caught at the end of the advertiser food chain. Weak advertising revenues for kids' programming forced major kids' TV programming networks to roll back prices versus a year ago.

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