Nickelodeon is under pressure to put in place strict nutritional standards for food advertisements, but the network doesn’t appear likely to give in to advocacy groups’ demands or pressure from lawmakers anytime soon, The New York Times reports.
The Viacom-owned cable network says it believes nutritional standards should be set by regulators and food companies, not the entertainment industry.
"As an entertainment company, Nickelodeon’s primary mission is to make the highest quality entertainment content in the world for kids,” the company said in a written response to four senators who contacted the network last week about the issue. “That is our expertise. We believe strongly that we must leave the science of nutrition to the experts.”
As The Times points out, money is also a big factor in Nickelodeon’s decision. Food advertising has fallen on Nickelodeon by 45% from 2008, but it remains the network’s third-largest advertising category, after movies and toys.
Nickelodeon’s food ads have declined partly because of self-regulation by food companies and because of the network’s own steps to limit some ads for fatty and sugary products.
“Things are moving in the right direction,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “They’re just moving way too slowly.”