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The Viacom/DirectTV Debacle


Who saw this coming?  Viacom and DirectTV has been locked in a contract battle over fees.  And most people are siding with DirectTV on this issue.  Viacom wants to charge DirectTV an extra 30% in subscriber fees which would net Viacom an extra billion dollars.  Before DirectTV had to block out the Viacom channels they were both running crawls at the bottom of the screen explaining why this fight was happening.

I think Viacom is getting very desperate right now.  They run around 26 TV networks and their ratings are falling.  Plus they have also angered even more people when Viacom pulled their online videos from many TV shows off the internet.  The network with the biggest ratings decline is Nickelodeon.  In fact here are some ratings from Nickelodeon from after the blackout occurred on DirectTV.

Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
DISNEY CHANNEL: K2-11 1457; K6-11 1015; TWEENS 9-14 832
CARTOON NETWORK: K2-11 728; K6-11 466; TWEENS 9-14 408
NICKELODEON: K2-11 656; K6-11 394; TWEENS 9-14 326
DISNEY XD: K2-11 297; K6-11 230; TWEENS 9-14 210
NICKTOONS: K2-11 68; K6-11 45; TWEENS 9-14 49
Source: MTVN Research from Nielsen Media Research Data

Disney Channel is getting record ratings and is now the number 1 kids network.  They are getting more ratings than Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network combined.  And the current programming on Nickelodeon sucks right now.  I am going into more detail on Nickelodeon on Animation Monday this week.  But the ratings decline on the Viacom Networks should serve as a wake up call.  And this video from Viacom mocking DirectTV is not helping things get better.

Face it Viacom; you have half-decent programming and you also have way too many channels.  Viacom could easily eliminate some of their low rating channels and no one would miss them.  This would save you some money right away.  You also need to look at your current programming.  MTV should be about music and not about teens getting pregnant and Jersey Shore.  VH1 should also be about music and not about who looks better.  CMT should be about country music and not about rednecks on an island.  TV Land should be about classic TV and not about women in Cleveland that are hot.  And Comedy Central should be about making people laugh.

Have you noticed this?

Another problem is what Viacom is doing during certain times on their networks.  Viacom is running some of their shows at certain times off the clock.  Instead of getting 6 half-hour shows in three hours you only get five shows with a bunch of extra commercials.  Are you that desperate for extra money Viacom?  The only thing you are doing during these off the clock shows is turning viewers away.  People do not want to view extra commercials than they should have to see.  And if the show is on a DVR; the commercials are going to be skipped.  Plus people will not be happy when their favorite shows ends at a weird time and another show on another channel is already in progress.  This time shift practice needs to stop.

Viacom needs to hold a crisis meeting in their headquarters and determine what’s wrong and how to fix it.  How about focusing your networks on what they should be showing instead of the bad programming it already shows.  And you need to end showing these extra ads and be better at scheduling.  You also need to quit charging the ridiculous and over the top fees to the cable and satellite companies.  Or your ratings crisis is going to get worse.  And by the way bring back the option to view episodes online.  Services like streaming through Roku is only going to get more popular over this fight.

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