Viacom Points To Strong Social Media To Supplement TV Ratings

Viacom continues to look at its programming in a new way -- even as traditional ratings continue to lag.

In speaking at a Goldman Sachs Media Conference, Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom, says the company looks to other measures -- social media and otherwise -- in determining the health of its programming.

For example MTV’s recent “Video Music Awards,” which was aired across many platforms and networks, pulled in record social-media levels -- a half of a billion in social-media engagement; it also registered 100 million Vine ‘loops,’ the video platform.

“If that is total engagement on a show we are bringing to our marketing partners,” he says, “it’s the new way of looking at it. Ratings are only a part of the picture.”



Even looking at some programming -- such as the first season of Nickelodeon’s long time hit “iCarly” versus the first season of Nick’s new show “Bella and the Bulldogs” -- shows a different dynamic for the digital media world.

Dauman says both shows have the same first season’s ratings, and 20% of the viewership of “Bella and the Bulldogs” comes from non-linear programming. Dauman adds: “And not all perfectly monetized.”

He says Viacom had “very good upfront.” The vast majority of its upfront deals includes a number of attached advertising initiatives that Viacom recently started, such as Viacom Vantage and Echo.

Viacom Vantage gives advertisers a data-driven ad product that enables marketers to reach their custom targets. Echo develop customized programs for advertisers using the Echo Social Graph analytics tool.

Dauman said Viacom launched more new networks globally than ever before -- with big growth in India. In selling products to other media platforms, he says there is big opportunity for a growing market for a number of subscription video-on-demand channels in China.

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