Personnel Shifts At TV Nets: Looking At Quick Fixes Or Long-Term Changes?

Rare that any established TV network makes wholesale executive changes. More often than not, stuff comes in dribs and drabs.

That said, sometimes the marketplace pushes senior management in this direction -- all to yield assurances to advertisers and business partners that their partnerships still have good value going forward.

Recently long-time MTV Network executive Van Toffler was shown the door; now it appears more exec departures are coming. But how many?  This isn’t new. A couple of years ago -- amid concerns over sharply declining ratings at Nickelodeon -- Viacom made key personnel and structural changes.

TV is a quick-moving business -- one where advertisers and other key business partners want fast answers to immediately declining business metrics.

Fox, Discovery Channel and TV Land are just a few of the networks that have seen big changes in senior-level execs recently.  But that doesn’t necessarily means there is a quicker churn among C-suite or programming executives than in recent years.

Viacom, of course, has the particular problem of catering to Millennials. Research has long shown tastes in content have a quicker half-life with these audiences than any other set of viewers.



MTV is more than few years removed now from “Jersey Shore,”  which pulled in a sky-high 6 million to 8 million viewers per episode.

The network has been trying hard to come up with programming on that level. Its “Teen Mom” franchise might be its top performer now, with around 2 million viewers for its “Teen Mom 2” edition. More recently, “Catfish” pulled in around 1 million viewers for a recent airing, as did MTV’s “Real World Skeletons.”

MTV pulled in 549,000 prime-time viewers in fourth quarter 2014 (tied for 33rd place); and 778,000 prime-time viewers for 2014 (tied for 25th place) -- numbers which shows some stability, especially after 30% and 40% declines, looking at 2013 versus 2012 data.

Usually a senior executive who gets replaced always wants to put in his own staff, and that takes time. And TV program development takes time. You might ask, can this process be accelerated? Some networks might need extra time more than others.

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