Nickelodeon Keeps Its Broadcast Schedule Secret For "Competitive Reasons"?

Consumerist reader Frank noticed that the shows on Nickelodeon didn’t match what was showing up on his TiVo schedule. He’d try to record Dora the Explorer and end up with Spongebob. Thinking it must be an issue with TiVo, he checked against what was on and found that they also had incorrect info.

Smelling something fishy, Frank wrote TiVo customer service and eventually got this reply:

Thank you for contacting TiVo Customer Support. I apologize for any inconvenience this incorrect guide information for Nickelodeon may have caused and would be happy to give you information on this. Nickelodeon has recently informed us that “for competitive reasons” they are unable to send out updated schedules in advance. They greatly apologized for the inconvenience, as do we. We are currently hard at work at a workaround for this issue and appreciate your patience and cooperation as we try to get this resolved.

Now what could those “competitive reasons” be?

Could they only be giving the correct information to one scheduling service?

Is it a ploy to get people to not use their DVRs and thus have them only watch shows (and, more importantly, ads) live?

Are other youth-targeted networks battling to get their hands on Nickelodeon’s apparently top-secret broadcast schedule?

I tried to contact Nickelodeon and its parent company Viacom, but was told that, in spite of its being a massive media company with numerous 24-hour operations, the entire company was on summer hours (except the poor woman answering my call) and that I couldn’t speak to anyone because it was after 1pm on a Friday.

So if you have any idea why Nickelodeon would not want to share their correct schedule with TiVo, feel free to conjecture wildly in the comments.

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