Netflix CFO: Really, we didn’t kill Spongebob’s ratings!

Speaking at an investor event in Boston Wednesday, Netflix CFO David Wells said online viewing of Nickelodeon content probably has very little to do with the double-digit ratings drops on the linear Viacom channel. He compared the ongoing discussion to the “global warming debate.”

Netflix Nabs SpongeBob and South Park

Netflix (s NFLX) officially announced its deal to stream the first nine seasons of South Park on its Watch Instantly service, and it also announced an agreement to stream Nickelodeon shows like SpongeBob Squarepants, Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer as well. The new deals give Netflix 300 episodes of MTVN (s VIA) content.
We know from a New York Times report last month that the South Park guys met with Hulu (s GE) and Joost as well, but went with Netflix because Netflix made a cash offer. From that New York Times piece:

“There was no talk of ad splits or guarantees or advances, just a payment for a show Netflix seemed really happy to have,” [South Park Co-Creator] Mr. Stone said.

Today’s press announcement did not include terms of the MTVN streaming deal, so we don’t know if a similar cash offer was made for the Nickelodeon content.
It was all quiet on the new content front for most of Netflix’s first quarter. We’re big fans of the service (I streamed a bunch of TV shows through it while sick in bed over the weekend), but while the quality of programming is getting better, it’s still lacking. Hopefully now that Netflix has its hardware figured out, it can get back to signing more deals like this.