MTV's 'Skins' Continues Ratings Slide Except with Teens - Broadcasting & Cable

MTV's 'Skins' Continues Ratings Slide Except with Teens

Major advertisers remain uncomfortable with racy show
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MTV's controversial show Skins
continues to shed viewers along with advertisers.

The show's third episode drew 1.459 million viewers,
down from last week. The show ratings dropped among MTV's key demographic of
12-34 year olds, but rose among teens, who are urged not to watch shows rated
TV-MA, as Skins is.

When it debuted on Jan. 17, Skins drew 3.255 million total viewers, a high for a new series on
MTV. Tune in for the episode got a big boost from its lead in, which was a
special episode of Jersey Shore,
which attracted 7.697 million viewers. The Skins
premiere drew a 2.87 rating in MTV's core demographic of 12 to 34 years olds,
including a 4.09 rating among 12 to 17 year olds.

In its second week, the number of viewers for Skins fell by half, with 1.581 million
tuning in. It was still MTV's top rated show in primetime and ranked 11th
among 12 to 34 year olds, and third among the 12-17 year olds still up and
watching TV at 10 p.m. ET.

The show, which features the sex and drug habits of teens,
has been a lightening rod. Before it aired, the Parents Television Council
labeled it as the "most dangerous show" on TV for children. The New York Times also reported that
execs at the network and parent company Viacom who screened the third episode
became concerned that they might be violating child pornography laws.

The PTC and its members began contacting advertisers and
many have pulled out, including General Motors, Taco Bell, Schick, Subway,
Wrigley and H&R Block. That's left the show filled with movie ads, ads for
video games, promos for shows on MTV and other networks, and direct response
ads. Red Bull, whose ads appeared in episode two, did not appear in the third
episode.

Clearasil had two ads in Monday's third episode. The brand
was also mentioned during the show, leading to the possibility that the
marketer, Reckitt Benckiser, made a product integration deal to be included in
the show.

During the episode, one character described his own acne
remedy, saying: "piss on a piece of toilet paper and rub it on your face. It
works better than Clearasil."

A spokesman for Clearasil did not return requests for
comment.

Proactiv, another zit medication, had several direct
response ads in the third episode. A spokesperson for direct response marketer
Guthy-Renker told the Hollywood Reporter
it had received several complaints from viewers about appearing in the show,
and has officially asked MTV to cease airing its spots in the show.

Skins was supposed
to be the start of a scripted programming push at MTV. The network will be
trying to sell advertisers on the rest of its upcoming lineup at an upfront
presentation in New York Wednesday evening.

So far, MTV has issued statements of support for the show.

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