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MTV2 Unleashes Its New Look

2/06/2005 7:00 PM Eastern

MTV2 hopes its bite is as bad as its bark. Following a changeover that began at midnight, MTV’s spin-off now sports a fresh logo — a two-headed dog — as part of a revamp that will also bring new on-air graphics, accelerated program pacing and, ultimately, a host of new shows.

Looking to shed the MTV imagery of its old logo, MTV2 general manager David Cohn said an internal creative group devised dozens of symbols, but the canines connected immediately.

“It’s iconic; easily recognizable,” he said. “It appeals emotionally, with a no-apologies view, to our great base of young male viewers.”

Along with the new logo, Cohn said “we also wanted to rethink our presentation of music videos and long-form programming, with bolder graphics and more color.”

A preview of the net’s new look screened yesterday on MTV2 and MTV as counter-programming against halftime of Super Bowl XXXIX. The network has also used some outdoor media — phone booths, posters and street marketing in New York — that revealed the two-headed dog image, without its MTV2 license, so to speak. The creative on those vehicles was to be changed overnight.

On-air promos on MTV Networks services aside, an extensive online media campaign will serve as the primary vehicle to get the word about MTV2’s transformation.

One of the most notable changes, depicted in a presentation tape, is its new identifier for music videos.

Instead of being located in the bottom-left corner of the screen, as with all other MTV services, it now runs across the middle of the picture, encased in bar lines.

Elsewhere, show introductions and titles pop up on a bottom-screen crawl, appear vertically on either side of the screen, or even in horizontal center positioning.

Also appearing: Such unsubtle plugs as “I Love MTV2” and “MTV2 is the shiznit.”

Tapping into its predecessor’s heritage, MTV2 is now featuring an assortment of quirky promos, come-hither close-ups, animation and claymation segments.

“We’re going back to the future with interstitial material that aims to amuse and bridge the gaps between videos and shows,” said Cohn, adding that some of the segments will be made available as video-on-demand content.

While maintaining its emphasis on music shows and videos that are “adventurous and cutting edge,” MTV2 will pay more attention to video gaming and action sports. But it won’t go G4 or ESPN on its viewers.

“We’re not doing the X Games; ESPN does that very well. But we will focus on this more with highlights and profiles, because it’s important to our viewers,” said Cohn.

Similarly, MTV2, which is facing a challenge in the music video space from Rainbow Media’s Fuse, will break out a second season of Video Mods, the series that recreates music videos with video game imagery, in May.

“You have to keep them interested or they will migrate to another channel, pick up the joystick, or go to another Web site,” said Cohn.

The network will supply plenty of on-air prompts touting its Web site (www.mtv2.com), especially when it comes to downloading audio tracks on such series vehicles as Discover and Download.

Meanwhile, updates lie ahead for the net’s Local 360 initiative, the customized sites featuring area content that MTV2 has produced for operators, including Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable, in 35 markets to date.

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