Nickelodeon, trying to recover from a 20% dip in its ratings
during last year's holidays that left a lump of coal in parent company Viacom's
earnings, plans to air 70% more original programming during the fourth quarter.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, speaking at the 21st Annual
Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, said an increase in program development
and production was part of the company's effort to get the kids channel back on
track and turns domestic ad sales growth positive.
"Nickelodeon has been hard at work for a good part of the
year in rethinking what it's doing, developing programming, new programming in
different genres and now it's coming to
fruition," Dauman said.
He said an "avalanche" of new programming begins Saturday,
with new seasons of shows including Victorious, Big Time Rush and How to Rock. After that, the company is excited about its new
version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Dauman said there have been changes in Nick's programming
organization to support the additional development and production. In August, Nick
animation chief Brown Johnson left the network and live action programming
chief Margie Cohn was reassigned in a shakeup that put chief creative officer
Russell Hicks in charge of its West Coast operations.
Dauman also said Nick has made organizational changes to get
the Nick networks to coordinate better.
But he cautioned that Nick still had a way to go before ad
revenues returned to normal. "We have to climb back out and getting progress as
we finish up the calendar year in this quarter that will help inherently but it
won't totally solve the issue. But it will then create momentum as we head to
the rest of the year and into the next upfront."
As far as the rest of the company goes, Dauman said he was
"reasonably optimistic" about the ad sales environment.
He said that VH1 would be expanding its original programming
to additional nights and that Comedy Central was creating programming for platforms
other than traditional television.