MTV to Tie Into Anti-Violence Campaign

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MTV: Music Television president Judy McGrath went to
President Clinton's White House Summit on School Violence last week to unveil a
multifaceted anti-violence campaign aimed at its core youth audience, set to start in
January.

At the summit in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday, McGrath
said MTV will partner with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Education and
others not just to raise awareness of the violence problem, but to offer effective
solutions, such as peer mentoring and conflict resolution.

Although MTV itself has been among the media outlets
criticized by some for being part of the problem, for showcasing rap and heavy metal music
videos that glorify violence and mistreatment of women, McGrath disputed that view during
an interview.

"I completely take issue [with the idea] that violence
plays a part in our programming. It does rap a disservice" to say that it offers
gratuitous violence, she said, adding, "Music has always been about social
issues."

McGrath said she envisioned this campaign running "at
least two years" and costing millions of dollars — due not only to production
costs, but also to the loss of ad revenues when these commercial-free shows pre-empt
regular programming.

The main umbrella theme will be "Fight for Your
Rights" (the title for some recent MTV News shows), she said, but "Take a Stand
Against Violence" may also identify some special MTV programming. Public-service
announcements will be the other major on-channel facet.

Off-channel, grassroots events will range from concerts to
debates and forums that operators can sponsor locally, McGrath said, adding that she would
not rule out appropriate advertiser tie-ins, as well. There will also be an Internet
component, McGrath noted.

MTV and MTV News will target the three main types of youth
violence separately: violence and weapons in the schools (with related programming slated
for spring 1999); gangs and other street violence (summer); and sexual violence (due in
fall 1999).

McGrath said MTV will also partner with: the Recording
Industry Association of America, on a tie-in compact disc featuring music and interviews
with performers on the violence issue; the American Psychological Association, which will
produce a news program on "Warning Signs" for violence; and the federal
government, the National Endowment of the Arts and Colin Powell's America's Promise
mentoring project, on a "Youth Action Guide."

This guide — available via a special 800 number that
will be promoted on MTV throughout 1999 — will outline ways that young people can
help to solve the violence problem.

Citing a recent Penn & Schoen poll commissioned by MTV,
McGrath said violence ranks as "the No. 1 concern, far and away" among 12- to
34-year-olds — the population segment most affected by violence, and also the music
network's core audience. MCN

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