Ratings at the three major kids’ cable broadcasters – Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network – are in an unstoppable free fall. Everyone knows the cause, but no one knows how to stop it.

Children are abandoning traditional cable in droves, according to a story in Bloomberg Businessweek, with this year’s ratings shaping up to be the worst yet. The culprit in general is streaming services, and more specifically, Netflix.

If you’re an executive at one of those three cablers, the numbers are downright ugly: ratings are down 20 percent from just a year earlier; ad sales haven’t grown in five years (currently stuck at about $1.2 billion annually); and between 2010-2017, children’s viewership of conventional tv dropped 30 percent.

This chart pretty much says it all:

Bloomberg points out that the children’s channels are making an effort to catch up in the streaming space: Nick has a platform called Noggin, Time Warner offers a Boomerang subscription service, and both Disney and Nick are getting ready to launch more expansive streaming services. But it’s an uphill battle at this point.

Even Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for Google’s Youtube, admitted recently that its own Youtube Red subscription service was no match against Netflix and its 125 million global subscribers. “I don’t think you can compete with Netflix at this point; they’re too far ahead,” she said. “But I do think, in time, we can compete with Hulu and Amazon and certainly Apple, and hopefully, you’ll see us do that.”

Latest News from Cartoon Brew