MTV tweaks digital plans

Net retunes for emerging platforms

This article was updated at 4:11 p.m.

MTV is leading the charge in the battle for screens big and small.

Christina Norman, who in May took the reins of MTV, unveiled on Wednesday a massive restructuring of the music net’s programming, production, news and marketing departments — aimed specifically at ramping up its multiplatform biz.

Topper said the new organization is focused on “taking our expertise in linear television and extending it to the emerging platforms we’ve been active in, and want to be active in.”

“This is a coordinated effort to be able to expose our content on any platform, whether it be online or on a cell phone,” Norman said.

MTV now divides itself into two divisions — one with overlapping duties for on-air and multiplatform and another dedicated solely to the creation and upkeep of on-air content.

Exec VP of news and production Dave Sirulnick will add oversight of music and multiplatform production to his bailiwick. His goal will be to streamline and oversee the creation of music and shortform content for MTV’s various nonlinear platforms.

On the multiplatform side, he’ll work in tandem with MTV Networks chief digital officer Jason Hirschhorn and digital media veep Ben White. Sirulnick will continue to report directly to MTV Music Group programming prexy Brian Graden.

MTV has made the most headway in the world of broadband channels. Internet-based Overdrive has already caught on with cabler’s aud, raking in millions of hits each month. Norman said she hopes to create even more content exclusive to that particularly fast-growing platform.

“There is already a ton of gaming and style content on Overdrive that doesn’t exist on the MTV channel. (‘Real World’ spinoff) ‘The Gauntlet’ is doing its best ratings ever, and because of it, traffic to Overdrive’s ‘Gauntlet: The After Show’ is incredible,” Norman said. “We’ll do more of that, while trying to figure out better ways of sending audiences back and forth between screens.”

On the music side, music programming veep Amy Doyle becomes senior VP of music and talent and label relations veep Peter Baron assumes responsibility for programming MTV’s on-demand offerings and the high-definition channel MHD.

Norman said record labels have become more eager to work with MTV as a direct result of its efforts in emerging platforms. Cabler is now able to offer emerging artists not only video play on MTV but time on Overdrive, cell phones, VOD, etc.

“We’re talking about everything from rotation on ‘TRL’ to videos on (college network) mtvU to Overdrive time to possibly performing on one of our shows,” exec said. “What we can now deliver are long-term plans and support for artists. Same goes for our series producers.”

On the production side, VP Tony DiBari becomes senior vice president of production. MTV News VP Ocean MacAdams will remain.

MacAdams, DiBari and Doyle will all report in to Sirulnick.

Also adding multiplatform purview to his linear network duties is senior VP of programming planning and scheduling Paul DeBenedittis, who has been named exec VP of multiplatform programming, content strategy and scheduling. He’ll oversee the programming of both shortform and longform content onto the various emerging platforms.

Marketing exec VP Tina Exharos, meanwhile, adds multiplatform creative to her title. She’ll take on the marketing and branding of all MTV’s on-air shows onto various platforms.

Focusing on developing and producing programming for the MTV flagship is exec VP of series development Lois Curren, who becomes exec VP of series entertainment and programming. Curren previously headed up West Coast development and will now oversee all programming development for the cabler.

Senior VP of production, development and animation Tony DiSanto becomes exec VP of series development and animation and head of programming for MTV2.

DiSanto now has a dual report to MTV’s Curren and MTV2 general manager David Cohen.

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