MTV goes looking for likes with its latest revamp

Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:39am EDT
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - MTV, the channel that revolutionized the music industry by playing artists' videos on rotation, is reinventing itself again, opening up to its social-media-savvy audience by putting their videos on air.

By using the hashtag #MTVBump, viewers can see their content from social media sites Instagram or Vine within two hours of its being posted, during the channel's break windows.

The revamp, evolving from "I want my MTV" to "I am my MTV", is being rolled out as streaming and video platforms gain ground while the ratings for conventional television networks dwindle. The shifts in viewing habits have weighed on MTV owner Viacom Inc recently, especially in the United States.

"We understand that MTV is a 30-year-old brand and we absolutely always have to be re-inventing ourselves," Kerry Taylor, the chief marketing officer for Viacom International Media Networks UK, told Reuters.

"The only thing our audience will reject from us is creative cowardice, so for MTV to look like a traditional broadcaster is just not acceptable ... We absolutely have to take risks, we have to create and we have to do something new."

Launched in 1981, MTV first aired video jockeys playing music videos. It has since varied its format, now showing reality TV shows aimed at teenagers and young adults.

With an age 16-34 commercial demographic, social media is key for a brand that broadcasts in more than 160 countries.

"We know our audience are very used to and enjoy dealing with very short form content," Taylor said. "They like seeing themselves published."   Continued...