Viacom's CEO credited increase spending on research for improved ratings performance at its cable networks.
"It's all about investing in the right research, the right programming, the right marketing and the right people," said Philippe Dauman during the company's first-quarter earnings call Thursday morning. Viacom's first-quarter earnings fell as higher revenue at its cable networks group was offset by declines at its movie business.
Ratings at Viacom's cable networks including MTV and BET have been jumping thanks to more successful original programming, including Jersey Shore and The Game.
But Dauman said the company has increased it research investment by more than 15% over the past three years.
"We're doing more consumer insights work than ever before at all our brands," he said. "Research informs everything we do: how we position or brand, how we invest our content dollars, how we program each network, how we develop our marketing plans, even how we window and monetize content across new platforms."
The result of all that research shows up as more animation on Comedy Central, new scripted sitcoms on TVLand and CMT, a broader mix of scripted and unvarnished reality programming for MTV and more scripted programs for BET.
"You'll see all those genres growing on our networks today because of our continue investment in programming and programmers," Dauman said, noting that programming spending has increase 25% since he replaced Tom Freston as CEO. "We're also sharing those insights further upstream in the content development process, not just internally, but also with outside producers with whom we work."
Viacom expects ad revenues to have double-digit growth again in the second quarter, driven by a strong scatter market," and we are looking forward to a particularly robust upfront this spring."
Read more at B&C here.