MTV cues up plan for niche Web sites

Cable conglom developing 'hyper-programmed verticals'

MTV is developing more than 20 Web sites tied to specific interests and demo groups under the auspices of its music and Logo groups.

Some are using program brands, like “World Series of Pop Culture” or “My Super Sweet 16,” while others are based on the potential interests of MTV viewers, like rock and hip-hop, celebrity news and personal development.

MTV plans to launch the first of what it’s calling “hyper-programmed verticals” in the first half of next year.

They will offer a wide array of tools with which users can design their own experience, in some cases by using content from MTV’s own library. Conglom is also hoping the sites will serve as doorways to draw visitors into all of its other Internet offerings.

Strategy grew out of the success VH1 has enjoyed with a regularly updated “Best Week Ever” Web site.

MTV has seen mixed results from its online programming and music ventures but continues to invest in and launch new products aggressively in hopes of reaching young consumers as they migrate online. Mika Salmi, former prexy of Atom Entertainment, was recently tapped to head all of MTV’s digital efforts.

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