The Parents Television Council seems to have had a great deal of success getting advertisers to abandon MTV’s controversial new scripted program “Skins” – but they may be leaving because that is what the program’s audience seems to be doing.
According to a report from FoxNews.com, the show debuted with over 3.2M viewers 1/19/11, amidst a big media splash created in part by protests from watchdog groups led by PTC, which has been relentless in its campaign to damage the program.
As of the fifth episode, the audience failed to reach the 1M mark, and the list of major national advertisers was reported to be on the wane as well.
Episode 6 has aired since, and MTV has announced no change to its commitment to air all ten planned episodes.
Whether or not it will order any more is another matter. One industry observer noted that MTV likes to project an edgy image, and may keep the program around simply because the controversy surrounding it helps fuel that image, regardless if it is attracting a huge audience or bringing in a decent amount of business.
However, other observers mentioned that it the program doesn’t seem to be generating much online chatter, and a number of members of its teenage target audience indicated that it’s content has very little to do with the lives they actually are leading.
In addition to protesting the program’s comtent, PTC is using it to further its pursuit of a requirement that MVPDs offer menu-driven channel choices to subscribers rather than the current tier system in use. The organization claims that it isn’t enough to simply avoid turning the channel to MVPD. PTC continues to argue that if it’s there as part of a person’s subscription, the subscriber is in effect subsidizing it against their will.