According to results from French ratings tracker Médiamétrie’s biannual cable/satellite survey Mediacabsat, kids channel ratings are down, and Fox Kids France is losing the most viewers. Numbers from the August 2001 report placed all the French kidnets among the country’s top 10 theme channels. But Fox Kids has since dropped to 12th place (with 0.5% of the total French audience, compared to 0.9% in August) and is down from a 2.1% general audience share in cable/satellite households to 1.1%.
With the four to 10 demo, Fox lags behind rivals Teletoon (7.1%), Canal J (7.0%) and Cartoon Network (4.6%) with a 4.4% rating, as well as losing its leadership position on the CanalSatellite platform to Cartoon Network. Fox Kids’ outlook with kids four to 14 is a little rosier, coming in third behind Canal J (7.0%) and Teletoon (5.6%) with a 3.6% rating, and leading the CanalSatellite universe with 7.8%.
‘Channel performance is down worldwide, but Fox Kids France has been affected to a greater degree than others,’ says the net’s general director Ronan Lunven. He points to TF1′s 4% gain among kids four to 10, TiJi’s market inroads and the impact of two highly successful youth-targeted reality series (Endemol France’s Loft Story on M6 and Expand’s Star Academy on TF1) that were avidly watched by kids ages nine and up as some factors that have contributed to this year’s ratings losses.
Lunven expects that Fox Kids’ ‘event series’ programming strategy should help the channel weather the storm, pointing out that ratings-grabbers such as Pokémon and Digimon were not part of the channel’s lineup during the Mediacabsat survey period. The exclusive fourth season of Pokémon is currently airing back-to-back with Nelvana’s Medabots.
While many kid-targeted channels lost viewers over the survey period, Canal J sister channel TiJi–France’s only preschool-dedicated net–posted impressive gains. The outlet captured a breakthrough 1.4% of the general cable/satellite household audience, and grew its share of four- to 10-year-olds by 20%. Culling from Canal J’s catalog and experience, TiJi also offers programming suitable for older kids and families–including toons, puppet series and docs. The channel’s going-forward strategy is to continue offering fare in a wide variety of genres and to build a stable of strong programming for its core audience, evidenced by the recent acquisition of Teletubbies.
The Mediacabsat survey was conducted in more than 950 French households between September 2001 and February 2002.