Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Dora, Diego and SpongeBob Say Goodbye to Netflix

dora1How many people binge-watched “Arrested Development” on Netflix this weekend? We should start getting some guesstimates soon.

But I can tell you with certainty how many people watched “Dora the Explorer” on the streaming video service: Zero.

The kids’ show, along with lots of other programming from Viacom, left Netflix last week as a license deal expired — just as Netflix said it would.

Netflix, which had previously said it would be interested in paying for some selected Viacom programming when the old deal ended, didn’t comment on the shows’ absence. Viacom offered the same comment it provided a month ago: “We continue to be in discussion with several parties, including Netflix, on digital distribution of our content.”

Netflix tries to play down the importance of kids’ programming to its offering, arguing that lots of people like lots of things in their catalog. But anyone with kids and a Netflix subscription realizes that it’s one of the service’s key features. And, up until last week, Viacom shows from the cable giant’s Nickelodeon channel played a big role in that.

But it’s interesting to note that Dora’s departure didn’t seem to cause much of a stir last week. A quick Google search turns up a paidContent piece from Janko Rottgers, but no one else in the business press seemed to notice it. Not a lot of Facebook or Twitter chatter, either.

(Update: Several readers have argued that Dora’s disappearance has indeed upset some Netflix subscribers. You can see a sampling of some responses on Get Satisfaction’s Netflix page.)

It’s worth noting that, a few weeks ago, Netflix announced a new kids’ programming deal with Disney, which brought shows like “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” to the service. So it’s possible that kids who would have wanted to watch Dora, or SpongeBob, or whatever, have been distracted by the shiny new shows that just popped up.

Or maybe it turns out that kids love watching stuff on Netflix, but they’re not that particular about what they watch.


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