Let's set aside the Arrested Development countdown at Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) for a moment.
Content travels both ways on the information superhighway, and young subscribers are going to be losing a lot of programming when Netflix's licensing deal with Nickelodeon parent Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) expires on Wednesday. SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron, Rugrats, and other popular children shows will be zapped from Netflix's streaming vault.
Several of Viacom's other shows will leave as well, but you won't see too many people whining that MTV's Jersey Shore is going away next week. Kids are different. They latch on to their favorite characters, and they don't mind watching the same episodes again and again.
Well, your child, niece, or grandson is going to be in for a cruel awakening after firing up Netflix late next week and not seeing Patrick Star and Angelica Pickles in their queues. Parents who figured a Netflix subscription would be an easy way to get rid of scratched-up DVD discs are about to realize that streaming deals aren't forever.
In Netflix's defense, it's been planning for this moment. Netflix struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) that will do more than just offer up the computer animation studio's popular theatrical releases. An original series based on a DreamWorks Animation movie coming out this summer will begin streaming exclusively through Netflix later this year.
There may be a lull in the short term. The DreamWorks Animation deal is gradually kicking in this year. Disney offered up some breadcrumbs of content late last year, but the real deluge of Disney magic won't kick in for a few more years.
Thankfully for Netflix, it stands alone. There is no other comparably priced service that comes even close to matching the breadth of its content, and that also applies on the children's side. However, just as adults have learned to deal with popular streaming titles that go away on Netflix, it's now time for younger viewers to learn the same thing.