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Press Release

PTC to Viacom’s CFO: It is Your Fiduciary Duty to Cancel “Dating Naked”

Nearly 93% of Corporate Sponsors Left the Explicit Show

By: Kelly Oliver

Release Date: 9/28/2016

LOS ANGELES (September 28, 2016) – In a letter to Viacom’s Chief Financial Officer Wade Davis and the Board of Directors, the Parents Television Council formally called for VH1’s explicit nude reality show, “Dating Naked,” to be cancelled in the shareholders’ best interests.

After the PTC contacted 80 corporate sponsors of “Dating Naked,” 74 companies – nearly 93% - removed their advertisements from the program after learning of the program’s content.

“If 74 out of 80 corporate advertisers pulled their spots from a VH1 program, why would that program be renewed for another season? The proper answer is that the program should not be renewed for another season – at least not if the corporation’s fiduciary duty to its shareholders is a paramount concern,” PTC President Tim Winter wrote in the letter, adding, “Any decision to renew the program obviates the company’s fiduciary duty to its shareholders.

“Based upon the communications we’ve had with corporate advertisers during the recently-concluded season of this program, not one single company sought out ‘Dating Naked’ as part of its media-buying plan. Of the 80 sponsors we contacted over the course of the season, 74 – nearly 93% – removed their advertisements from the program after learning of the program’s content. Advertisements that did appear on the program were part of a run-of-schedule purchase; most spots were placed without the corporate sponsors’ knowledge or consent, and many aired despite specific instructions from the corporate sponsor not to be associated with ‘Dating Naked.’

“By the season’s final episode, most ad avails were filled with promos for other Viacom programming, movie trailers, or spots for bargain-conscious companies that could buy time at rummage-sale prices. Viewer support for ‘Dating Naked’ was tepid and waning. And perhaps most troubling for parents was that nearly one in five viewers of the sexually-explicit program was a child age 2-18, which was likely caused by what we believe to be the network’s intentionally deceptive content rating of TV-14. VH1 kept ‘Dating Naked’ on the air despite a clear lack of commercial or viewer support; and alternate programming would have generated far more revenue for VH1, for Viacom and for its shareholders.

“There is no valid economic reason to renew this program for another season. For the above reasons I ask you and other members of the Viacom leadership team to cancel ‘Dating Naked.’ Any decision to the contrary runs counter to the interests of Viacom shareholders."

(Read letter)

The Parents Television Council® (www.parentstv.org) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media.

This national grassroots organization has more than 1.4 million members, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children.

The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at www.parentstv.org/blog.

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
 
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ptcusa.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at kelly@kellyoliverpr.com.