Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If you can't Beat Em, Join Em: MTV Web Goes Web 2.0 GaGa!

Last week's Onion headline of Viacom Demands YouTube Pull 400,000 Ex-TV Viewers From Its Site was pretty hilarious, but spot on. In short, TV is losing viewers to the internet faster than they thought would happen. So, MTV has decided to actually do something about it
MTV Networks, owner of the MTV and Comedy Central channels, is pushing a risky new Web strategy to win back young viewers from the likes of YouTube and MySpace.

The network, which already has 150 Web sites in 162 countries, plans to build literally thousands more, hoping to draw viewers by letting them watch, contribute and even re-edit its television shows.

"People tend to find content on the Internet through thousands of front doors as opposed to one," said Mika Salmi, the new digital president of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc..

Some three months ago, Salmi began laying the groundwork in a strategy plan called "Atlas."

MTVN's sites currently operate largely within their own "silos," so they first had to adopt the same technology tools and then find better ways to cross-promote the myriad brands tied to its shows, Salmi said.

"The goal is hopefully to tie it all together over the next year, and to be far more open," said Salmi, who joined MTV Networks last summer after Viacom purchased Atom Entertainment, known for online short films and games. "Consumers love these shows. Let's get them involved."

In the coming months, Salmi said the company plans to open up more of its archives, allowing Internet users to take videos and post them on their own sites and also re-edit some clips. already allows viewers to post, or embed, some of its videos on their own sites.

"Consumers want control," Pali Capital analyst Richard Greenfield said. "Fighting that trend is not a winning strategy...They're moving in the right direction now."
Opening up the archives and getting more user-generated content. That's the new business strategy. As for user compensation...hmmm....

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