Friday, July 20, 2007
The Handwriting on the Wall at VIACOM
New York, NY 10036
Shari Redstone, Vice Chairman
RE: The Handwriting on the Wall at VIACOM
Dear Shari Redstone:
While everyone on Wall Street is licking their chops over the prospects of your leaving Viacom’s board, we represent a voice of people who wish that you would stay. As a forward-thinking and progressive voice on the board, your views on performance-base compensation for corporate executives are long overdue.
Media giants, like Viacom and CBS, are dominated by old thinking. The values of old corporate executives are no longer the values of the general public. Shareholders should hold corporate executives accountable, not only for their performance, but also on the quality of their performance.
Let me remind you that the Association of National Advertisers have adopted a plan for Family Friendly Programming. Its mission is to support and promote the development of "family friendly" television across all programming genres between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m., when adults and children are most likely to watch television together.
Some media giants have not followed public desires but, instead, have set a bad public trend in television and radio programming. Look, for example, at Imus. Old media corporate executives have given the public an overdose of distorted reality programming, a la “As the World Turns” through the eyes of the “World According to Gorp”. We are long overdue for some revolutionary changes.
SHARI: You probably already know best why there is discontent at Dream Works. But you may not know about the fire brewing at BET. The roll out of “Hot Ghetto Mess” and “S.O.B.” on July 25th could very well be the BET’s empire financial undoing.
Again, we will be looking to you for new thinking leadership against the stonewall executives who recognize no need for change. The cancer has reached critical mass. The handwriting is on the wall. Only you can determine its course.
Eddie Griffin (BASG)