Money Matters - Simplified

Advertisers shy away from MTV’s “Skins”

The show Skins, an adaptation of a British series, portrays the secret life of teenagers. The first episode of the show, which had more than 3.3 million viewers, was aired on Jan. 17.

MTV aired the second episode of “Skins” amid advertisements of network promotions and commercials of movie studios. And as the most clinching evidence of lack of advertiser interest, the show even featured an advertisement of a stretch marks removal cream.

The show, an adaptation of a British series, portrays the secret life of teenagers. The first show of Skins, which had more than 3.3 million viewers, was aired on Jan. 17.

Show has viewers but no advertisers
More impressive was the fact that 2.7 million viewers out of the total were in the age bracket of 12 to 34 years. It comprised the highest viewership for any show launched on MTV.

But this time it is much more serious. Nearly half a dozen advertisers have backed out after the first telecast of the show. May be any possibility of violating the Federal Child Pornography statutes turned off the advertisers.

But the success of the show is not able to cheer the MTV. Now it has a show that is hugely popular, but advertisers are turning their faces away from the show.

MTV has handled controversies regarding the contents of its programs in the past too; for example in 2009, when Domino’s Pizza backed off from the “Jersey Shore” after National Italian American Foundation and other groups expressed displeasure over the use of ethnic slur ‘Guido’ by the cast.

But this time it is much more serious. Nearly half a dozen advertisers have backed out after the first telecast of the show. May be a possibility of violating the Federal Child Pornography statutes turned off the advertisers.

Taco Bell was the first to turn away. Wrigley gum, Subway, Schick, and General Motors followed suit. Even H&R Block issued a statement that their advertisement was shown by mistake during the show.

Lack of interest by advertisers could prove costly
The loss of advertisements could cost up to $2million in revenues to MTV, industry insiders say.

Another major setback besides the monetary loss is that the show was supposed to be the re-entry into the scripted programs under its new chief David Jonollari. The channel also lost the chance to have a higher cost per thousand (CPM) ratings.

Advertising industry insiders say, “There are few advertisers that are willing to put their neck on the line for any show. There is no lack of youth to reach in the marketplace. Why court backlash when you can find this audience somewhere else?”

Some observers think that the channel might move the show from ten to eleven p.m., hoping that the move will silence the critics.