Here’s the language from Viacom’s press release: “The charge also reflects accelerated amortization of programming expenses associated with a change in the company’s ultimate revenue projections for certain original programming genres that have been impacted by changing media consumption habits.” (Emphasis added.)
And now the translation, with help from a person familiar with Viacom’s thinking: The shelf life for Viacom’s reality shows like “Teen Mom” and “Jersey Shore” is shorter than it used to be, because why watch a reality show rerun when you can watch something on YouTube or Twitch, or play around with Vine and Snapchat, or Clash of Clans or whatever. So the company has to knock down the value it had attributed to those shows in its catalog. The same goes for some reruns the company had purchased from other providers.
I believe the issue is that the internet has destroyed the long-term value of shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom” – I believe they never had long-term value to begin with. Both are pretty much the definition of flash-in-the-pan.
If Viacom was truly blindsided by this, that’s their own fault. It’s the other end of the bargain they made when they sold their soul and turned their back on the origins of MTV for this junk.