Why Viacom Will Never Be Great Again

There’s a reason Netflix has 27.5 million streaming subscribers, shelling out $7.99 a month for the right to watch countless shows and movies — on their terms — without commercial interruptions.

If you’ve been noticing a little bit less of SpongeBob on Nickelodeon, Snooki on MTV, or Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central, it’s by design.

Viacom — the parent company of Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and several other cable mainstays — is increasing the number of commercials that it’s wedging into its shows.

Ratings tracker Nielsen is reporting that Nickelodeon and Comedy Central blasted 9% more ad time during the first half of this year than last year. Oh, and that follows a 4% increase for all of 2010 and a 7% spike in 2011.

That isn’t the boost in ad revenue, unfortunately. We’re talking strictly about the amount of time that someone watching two of Viacom’s flagship channels will be subjected to ads. If we add it all up, we’re talking about a roughly 21% increase in ad time over the past three years.

Really? Is this what you’re paying your cable company an armchair and an ottoman for?

We’ll Be Back After a Few Words From Our Sponsors

No one is going to deny a commercial broadcaster its right to cram as many as ads as it can into its programming. However, it’s also the right of a viewer to decide when enough is enough.

We live in impatient times. Folks want programming when they want it, and they’ll pay for not being inconvenienced.


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