Budapest's Magyar TV opposes net's acronym

BUDAPEST — Hungarian pubcaster Magyar Televizio has survived the Soviet occupation and an insurrection of rioters — but it may have met its match with the web that brought the world “Beavis and Butt-head.”

Last week, Magyar TV sued in Budapest to stop Viacom’s MTV from using the acronym in Hungary.

Viacom already owns a Hungarian music television network called Viva, which is geared to teenage viewers. The new Hungarian Music Television service will attract slightly older viewers.

Music Television’s MTV logo may be an omnipresent trademark of style and youth in the West, but Magyar Televizio’s MTV has been an equally weighty brand in Hungary for the past 50 years.

The 1956, revolution began outside the offices of Magyar Radio, which spawned Magyar Televizio a year later. Pitched battles between Hungarian freedom fighters and Red Army soldiers took place at Szabadsag Square (Freedom Square), where the pubcaster is now housed.

During Hungary’s most recent political crisis in September, rioters staged violent protests outside MTV’s Szabadsag Square studios, and made headlines around the world when they stormed, set fire to and briefly occupied the building.

MTV’s studios now are closely guarded by Hungarian riot police.

But the Viacom net recently made headlines with a guerrilla marketing campaign in which MTV posters shaped like guitars were hung from 400 statues of Magyar poets, academics and statesmen across the capital.

Officials ordered the posters be taken down. But the campaign proved that in the battle for the name MTV, no national icon is safe.

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