MTVN Developing ‘Hyper-Programmed’ Sites

MTV Networks’ Music and Logo Group is developing over 20 new Web sites in what the company calls “hyper-programmed” vertical channels focused on niche viewers interested in topics ranging from old school hip-hop to spiritual music to “Your Momma so Fat” jokes.

While MTV Networks will operate the sites, each will be located at its own URL and not through the flagship MTV or VH1 brands. Sites will include Web Junk, a viral video companion to the VH1 television show; a World Series of Pop Culture online game; Music/Classic Rock and Classic Hip Hop sites; a dance-focused site linked to the upcoming MTV program “Jennifer Lopez’s Dance Life,” for would-be dancers; a personal development site for young adults and My Super Sweet 16, stemming from the MTV show. The properties will debut over the first half of 2007.

“One thing that MTV has proven over 25 years is to constantly stay in touch with the creative appetite with all our music channels,” said Brian Graden, president of entertainment for the MTV Networks Music Group and president of Logo. “That’s very much the way we’re coming at this. We just always start with the consumer. Our belief is if you know the audience and anticipate the creative things they are doing, everything follows from that.”

Not all teenagers are keen to move away from the television and onto the Internet for MTV style content, particularly when that content is simply companion entertainment for a TV franchise.

Ashley Lamb, a 15-year-old student from the San Francisco Bay Area, said she and her friends would likely not visit the online extension of “My Super Sweet 16.”

“My friends know about that and we hate it,” she said. “Most teenagers I know, when we talk about MTV, we talk about the show and episode of the show and how wonderful or stupid it was. Not a lot of my friends would go to a separate Web site about the show.”

Although MTV Networks has been busy acquiring online film companies iFilm and Atom, as well as signing distribution agreements with Google and YouTube, the decision to move into niche Web sites stems from the companies experiences with similar sites bestweekever.tv, based on the “Best Week Ever” TV franchise, and “Virtual Laguna Beach,” according to Graden. With the inclusion of games and interactive components, the online properties are intended to be more than shared video download sites.

“The one thing that we do know is that these do not represent television on the Web,” he said. “It’s all about aggregating as many impressions and page views as you can in any numbers of ways.”

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