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(April 17, 2001) -- When Hollywood movie studios pledged not to target teens age 17 and under with ads for R-rated movies, conventional wisdom held that MTV -- with its heavy teen audience and movie ad take -- would suffer.

But Tom Freston, chairman-CEO of MTV Networks, said today the network "hasn't lost one cent" since the studios made the commitment last fall. Mr. Freston, appearing at a news conference for the cable network TV Land, said MTV's movie ad take was up 10% for the first quarter of 2001.

Under pressure from Congress, some studios said they would not advertise R-rated films on shows where more than 35% of the audience is under 17. The network has shifted R-rated movie ads to programming that airs after 9 p.m., Mr. Freston said. But the bulk of those ads were purchased during last year's upfront buying period, before the studios' commitment to lawmakers, and for the most part could not be canceled.

The coming upfront could mark a decrease for MTV, though Mr. Freston said the network didn't "foresee losing any business."

He noted that some two-thirds of MTV's audience is over 17. The network targets 12- to 34-year-olds. -- David Goetzl

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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