MTV Strategic Opportunities - August 2009




MTV is undoubtedly one of the most recognized brands in the cable industry.  What began as a music network has exploded into a haven for well-developed, young-skewing, long-form programming. 

Much of MTV's shows revolve around the ages of the viewers they target â€" from teens to young adults.  There is a distinct music flavor to the network, even when the shows (like THE REAL WORLD or THE HILLS) don't necessary have anything â€Ã..."musicalâ€Ã‚ about them.  Often music is used to convey emotions and new bands can find their big break when one of their songs debuts on an MTV show.  One visit to their website confirms it â€" music is definitely first at MTV, and long-form programming secondary.

MTV has announced a shift in their programming which will affect their future programming.  According to a recent article in TV Week, "MTV's newer shows are aimed at a new generation, the Millennials."

â€Ã..."'There's a palpable generational shift in attitudes that's informing a new point of view as we develop content and the brand. The change in our audience is reflected in new formats, tonal voices and storytelling cadence,' said Tony DiSanto, head of programming for MTV. 'Millennials have a great sense of optimism and are filled with a â€Ã‹Å"can-doâ€(Tm) spirit that's infused into all areas of their lives. Just as we've shifted with our audience in the past, we're now embracing a new brand filter … one that inspires us to break boundaries, bust our mold and reinvent.'" (TV Week)

To compliment MTV's shift in content, they are also going through major restructuring in staff.  President of Entertainment, Brian Graden will leave the network when his contract expires at the end of the year.  MTV has also announced that it will lay off 50 staff members, many in their development and programming departments.  To CableU this clearly signals that the network will need to work with bigger production companies who will be expected to take a bigger role in development, now that less of it will be done in house.  Perhaps they will also consider more acquired programs, as opposed to their longstanding strategy to home grow everything.


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