The numbers are out, and it may not surprise you that most cable TV networks lost viewership in 2023. Though it may surprise you that children’s cable TV networks were some of the hardest hit.
Variety released their report on the status of cable TV networks in 2023. According to that list, children’s networks were hit hard.
The Disney Channel was a top 10 most viewed network with nearly 2 million viewers in 2021. Now it is ranked 80th out of all cable TV. Also in 2023, Nickelodeon lost 34% of its viewers, the Disney Channel lost 26%, Disney Junior lost 27%, and Nick Jr. lost 34%.
One winner—if you can call it that—is Cartoon Network, which only saw viewership down 19%.
This comes as the average age of children’s networks continues to rise. Cartoon Network, which advertises itself as targeting a core audience of boys and girls ages 6–12, now has 75% of its viewers over the age of 18 and 43% over the age of 30, according to Statista.
It has been reported that in 2022, during the hours of 6 pm to 8 pm, 68% of Cartoon Network’s audience was over the age of 18. This time block has traditionally been big with school-age kids watching TV before bed.
Because of this shift to older viewers, we have seen Cartoon Network move Adult Swim up to start even earlier this year. The network also launched a block of classic Cartoon Network shows that older audiences would remember leading up to the start of Adult Swim.
Clearly children are moving away from watching cable TV and have started to focus on streaming options like YouTube.