The kids segment of the upfront is underway and some advertisers are sending some extra dollars to Nickelodeon's rivals following the double-digit ratings drop that hit the market leader during the fourth quarter.
Nickelodeon, however, remains dominant, and has been able to retain its pricing power despite the viewership issues suffered by SpongeBob SquarePants and other aging franchises on the network.
With broadcast virtually wrapped up and most major cable networks more than halfway done making upfront deals, the kids market, which is expected to be flat, sprang to life this week.
Media buyers said the ratings plunge at Nickelodeon, long the market leader, could lead to a share shift if Nickelodeon pressed for price increases. But despite ratings gains by the non-commercial Disney Channel and Cartoon Network, advertisers still need to do a significant amount of business with Nick, limiting possible reductions in spending.