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Viacom Will Shift Strategy to Revive Ratings

Programmer Taking Steps to Boost Nick, MTV 2/03/2013 7:00 PM Eastern

Viacom outlined programming strategies at Nickelodeon and MTV to reverse ratings and recapture the attention of their young audiences.

Nickelodeon is beginning to create preschool programming for the “post-Millennial generation,” a group the company hopes to keep on its channels throughout their youth.

And MTV is preparing for life after Jersey Shore with what the company hopes will be a more balanced, deeper schedule.

Viacom’s Networks group reported lower revenue and profits during the first quarter. Speaking on the company’s earnings conference call with analysts, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that the company has been in- creasing its investment in programming.

Viewers “want new shows and new episodes in faster cycles, and so we’re delivering it on our networks, accelerating development timelines and production to accelerate our ratings turnaround,” Dauman said.

Analysts following Viacom have been particularly concerned with Nickelodeon, whose ratings suddenly began plummeting at the end of 2011, and MTV, which has been pumped up by Jersey Shore, a phenomenon that ended in December. Those networks were the first two Dauman addressed in his remarks.

Dauman said that Nick is focused on three priorities: to reclaim and retain its Saturday-morning leadership, strengthen its weekday-afternoon block and build its preschool viewership to feed future big-kid audiences.

Dauman said new MTV programming president Susanne Daniels has completed a review of production partners and accelerated the network’s pilot process. The network also hired Mina Lefevre from ABC Family as its new head of scripted programming.

Jon Lafayette is business editor of Broadcasting & Cable.

September