Skip to comments.MTV president Van Toffler talks strategy - (MTV says it has not abandoned music, just Gen Xers)
Posted on 03/05/2010 11:07:48 AM PST by a fool in paradise
NEW YORK -- Music videos are still valuable content for MTV, even though viewers' evolving tastes have required an expansion into reality and other shows, Van Toffler, president of Viacom's MTV Networks Music and Logo Group, said here Thursday.
Asked about how good a business his firm's "Beatles: Rock Band" video game is, he said: "I believe it will sell forever, and it will be a good deal." The game has so far sold about a couple of million units, he said.
Toffler made his comments during a keynote interview at the Billboard Music & Money Symposium here Thursday.
Asked whether MTV is still a music network or a general youth channel, Toffler said: "It's really both." In the network's early days, "music videos were the soundtrack of pop culture," but then the audience demanded "more genre shows," and MTV moved into animation, reality TV and social campaigns.
MTV and its sibling networks still play more than 600 music video hours a week, but they increasingly play on platforms outside of the MTV TV network, he said.
Still, MTV integrates music in different ways via big events and by using music within shows, Toffler said.
Plus, MTV invests more than $100 million in music each year in the form of promotions and the like, he added.
"We reinvent ourselves every couple of years" on the TV and film screen, he later said. "That's what we do" to always speak to the young audience of the day.
Toffler was recently cited as saying the channel was pushing out members of Generation X. Asked jokingly by his Billboard interviewer why he hates that audience, Toffler quipped: "Because you're cynical."
On a serious note, he said the 12-29-year-old demographic is in focus for him and his colleagues. Those Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are "much more traditional," Toffler explained. For example, many of them watch "Jersey Shore" with their parents, he said. That's why Taylor Swift got such strong support when Kanye West interrupted her on stage at the Video Music Awards last year, he added.
Asked about his movie strategy, Toffler said it is also constantly evolving -- from "Election" to "Jackass" and beyond. "Music has always been integral to our movies," he said. "We always expose new music in our movies."
He added that the upcoming "Jackass 3D" will have music "all over it." He also quipped that the movie will be what "Avatar" director James Cameron envisioned.
Toffler also said Thursday that MTV plans to roll out a cross-platform initiative dubbed PUSH, or "Play Until Someone Hears." Its goal is to build careers for new artists. "We have to invest in future stars, especially online," he said.
On its U.K. Web site, MTV already has a section for PUSH, including information and music along with access to ringtones for up-and-comers. "If you're unsure who should be your new favorite band, MTV can help!" the site says. "Each month PUSH will be telling you about the hottest new acts in the world and, of course, explaining why they're so special."
RnR (or what once was) PING
I’m old enough to remember when MTV played music and the Comedy Channel was funny.
And when the President of MTV wasn’t also President of an “all gay” network.
Video killed the radio star and MTV killed the music industry.
There is still music but the industry has collapsed, today MTV sells “celebrity”.
The problem is that MTV (who deserves credit for starting the reality show concept) has hung on for deal life to these shows replacing actual music.
Now granted, when they started these (and I am a Gen Xer and watched MTV from the day it started on until I got married-including LOVING the first season of The Real World and Beavis and Butthead) types of shows, the animation and reality show/contest, they were cutting edge. Now they are giving up valuable air time that could be used to attract teens by playing music and giving them a chance to glance at their teeny poster on the wall crush. Instead, they produce garbage (and I don’t say that because I’m an old fuddy duddy, but they have to get more and more outrageous to be considered ‘cutting edge’ and now are bordering on absurdly ridiculous) that is competing with 30 other channels showing stupid reality shows.
MTV, you want to be “cutting edge?” PLAY SOME MUSIC!
Oh, and the dumbest thing MTV EVER did was to start MTV2, supposedly to be the ‘music channel’ and within months they had moved to an all reality channel. So now they have TWO “music television” channels devoted to stupid reality TV. And we won’t go into VH1 and the Flavor of love stuff. (Although I do have to admit that I got kind of caught up in the hot mess that was Rock of Love)
All this being said... back in the day (God, I’m getting old) the ONLY way we had an opportunity to see (not just hear with a record or cassette) our favorite musicians was through MTV. With the internet, the video can be seen in the blink of an eye. So I have to give them that. However part of the awesomeness that was MTV was an exposure to new bands and new genres that you hadn’t heard before.
One last thing, they have a show called “16 and pregnant” which is obviously about teen pregnancy. Now at first I was upset about this show and especially that my 13 and 14 year old daughters heard about it and wanted to watch it. I have MTV blocked, so had to ask me. Well, I watched it and now I want them seeing it. They can see how unfun being a teen mom can be. I repeatedly tell them that the joy of being a mom is the same, if not better in your 20’s as it is in your teens. But you can’t get your teen and early 20’s back. So if you wait, you can have the pleasure of experiencing both.
Right on autumnraine. My 16 and 17 year old boys actually did not mind when I blocked it years ago. They said it was nothing but filth. Same with BET, E, and PBS
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
“(who deserves credit for starting the reality show concept)”
Wrong. Remember “Real People”? Or “Cops”? “Battle of the Network Stars”? “The Real World” deserves credit, I guess, as the oldest still-running reality show. But it was not the original, and it predates the current craze—which was started by none other than “Survivor”—by about 8 years.
The reality show thing began around 1970 with a series on PBS. It was later parodied by Albert Brooks in Real Life.
I saw reruns of the PBS series in the 1990s.
I remember when MTV was a music video channel and VH1 was non-existant. As MTV segued into more original programming, I remember when VH1 became the channel to watch music videos. Then it was VH1-Classic to watch videos. Now VH-1 is a reality TV channel and VH-1 Classic is little more than reruns of Uncle Buck.
Beavis & Butthead had video segments in the episodes (not included in the DVD releases). Mike Judge used it to get some artists on MTV that wouldn’t have gotten exposure there otherwise. It also enabled him to mock some other artists. And sometimes a little of both.
The music labels started demanding payment for the music videos that were originally given on a promotional basis.
Also, the reality shows that MTV creates can be aired again later in syndication on Viacom’s Paramount network and released to home video. It’s about revenuable programming.
Same as when NBC got away from cartoons (which had a limited time schedule for syndication) to sitcoms on Saturday mornings. Now they air news and sitcoms. Yawwwwn.
That's because SNL and the Tonight Show and the Grammys and Solid Gold and... programmed older artists for an older demographic (one that still dominates the marketplace only not as much as before).
Generation X was the baby bust between two booms. MTV hasn't programmed for Gen X since 1994.
Bovine Scatology (BS).
MTV's execs simply moved their programming into the left's cultural sewer because they wanted to.
The network (and their subsequent award shows) are disgusting garbage.
Imagine. Just a few decades ago, MTV was a platform for the music of the likes of Tom Petty, The Who, and the Rolling Stones.
When it went "Ghetto", things started to go down quickly. Then it became a full time show for cultural "reality" dysfunction, sex, and a simmer cauldron of hatred for anything remotely related to morality.
And Al Gore was ready to accept their support. The PMRC Senate hearings were a stunt to get Al Gore national exposure as he ran for the White House in 1988. He got the #2 position for 8 years after that and a close presidential run in 2000. He’s remained on the stage ever since and has not brought up “dirty music” ever again.
He savaged careers (including the store clerks who got arrested by vice squads) for personal advancement.
Lets just say people have always enjoyed watching others in the act on “being themselves” Sound familiar? Candid Camera kicked off the medium years ago first on the radio(candid microphone) in 1947 and later on TV (1948) as we know it today. The documentary you are thinking of is called “An American Family”
I wish I were the president/CEO of Viacom!They own pretty much everything! Ca-ching!
Wonder how that “constantly evolving” works- considering the end result is always brown and stinks.
MTV stopped being relevant the moment they stopped the music.