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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MTV Moving Beyond Music TV

MTV isn't your mom and dad's music television anymore, or even your grandparents. What originated as cutting edge television with catchy special effects, sexy dance parties and tricked-out music videos is moving away from its tried-and-true, ADHD-style original format. Music video killed the radio star, and now the internet may kill the music video star. As many music fans know, the channel progressed from music videos to dance parties to reality TV & dating game shows. Don't panic just yet, the channel itself isn't leaving the air, but they are definitely finding ways to reach people besides TV. According to the latest issue of Fast Company magazine, MTV is placing bets on several alternate forms of entertainment from video games to mobile apps to virtual reality and downloadable content.

Here's a look at some of MTV's newest ventures:

The Virtual Lower East Side - a Virtual world similar to Second Life which will be set in New York City's gritty music scene. Will allow new young bands to showcase their stuff, and also has tons of advertising possibilities.

Jerry Bruckenheimer - the super producer behind many huge movies signed a deal to produce video games for MTV in December 2007.

Rhapsody America -
partnered with Verizon Wireless and Real Networks, this music store is set to challenge iTunes.

Flixwagon - a mobile-to-web video platform. On one August weekend it delivered 6 million streams of the Jonas Brothers live.
- Just like the MTV show NEXT, this online site mimics the dating concept for the web.

Harmonix - MTV bought the video game maker in 2006. They're mainly responsible for Rock Band and its sequels, grossing more than $700 mill in revenue. MTV also has been selling $2 song downloads for Rock Band by the millions.

Gracenote - partnership which makes a ton of song lyrics available to internet and mobile phone users. - Amateur dance groups from around the world can post their videos and be rated by users of the site. - A site for 15 year old girls to plan their huge birthday bashes with the help of peers.

Campus Daily Guides - Website developed for major college towns which is backed by a local search and advertising network.

As you can see MTV is definitely getting futuristic. Once known for cool animated videos by Dire Straits and Peter Gabriel, they're now making major moves into the world wide web and beyond to keep up with the hipness of social media, video viewing, interactivity and music downloads.

Back in 2005, MTV had the opportunity to buy Myspace but didn't seal the deal, drawing heavy criticism and even resulting in a major CEO being axed. MTV also failed in its attempted music download service, URGE, and its video content site Overdrive. So now MTV is definitely paying attention to what its current viewership wants for entertainment's sake. With declining numbers for its shows, MTV is willing to take the risks that music fans will want content in other ways besides the "old fashioned TV set".

Times are definitely changing and before you know it, Music TV just might be as out of date as the 8-Track or VCR!

Read more about MTV's ventures for the future in the November 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine!

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