MTV2 Offers Tailored Local Content

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MTV2 later this month plans to kick off a new affiliate-marketing initiative that allows cable systems to put their brand on local content offered by the music network.

Operators that carry MTV2 on the analog tier can take advantage of the turnkey package, which offers co-branded station IDs at the top of each hour. There's also other tailored content, including a local concert calendar, general manager David Cohn said last week.

Dubbed Local 2.0, the free-to-affiliates service is available only on analog. That's in part because of the limits of insertion technology, but also to drive such distribution, Cohn admitted.

The technology is not being offered to direct-broadcast satellite providers.

MTV2 will maintain technical and editorial control of the Local 2.0 service, which Cohn called a great tool to help drive sales for such new services as digital cable and high-speed Internet access.

Consumers would be more likely to act on screen crawls that promote specific offers from Road Runner or Charter Pipeline, for example, than on national on-air messages, Cohn said.

And by running the messages on such shows as Control Freak
— in which viewers use electronic mail to vote for the music videos they'd like to see — operators are marketing to audiences who are primed for high-speed connections, he said.

"This is connected very much to the content," said Cohn. "We're not just slapping on a promotional message."

Systems could also use Local 2.0 as a tool to pitch MTV Networks's diginets. For instance, operators could use a late-night block of hip-hop videos to pitch to viewers who'd like to see such content all day.

MTV2 executives have been working on the creative aspects of the service for several months to ensure that it isn't intrusive, said Cohn.

"Obviously screen clutter is always a concern," he said. "That's why we're being judicious in our approach."

Though the younger MTV2 audience is already accustomed to viewing Web sites with multiple screens of content, the network will not place localized information alongside every music video, he added.