MTV is celebrating its 20th birthday, but when USA Today delivered a scathing editorial on the music net’s cultural impact to mark the occasion, the cabler’s Bill Roedy couldn’t resist throwing a little cake.
Roedy, prexy of MTV Networks Intl., was reacting to a July 31 editorial by the paper that said, “MTV at 20 is seen in 140 countries, which makes it as much a vehicle of American imperialism as was the Pentagon at the height of the Vietnam War.”
Fighting words, indeed.
Roedy, who oversees international operations for MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1, launched a counterassault:
“The MTV world celebrates the vibrant diversity of culture globally, with local MTV VJs, music, humor and graphic style completely reinvented for each market. Seventy percent of MTV India’s music mix is Bollywood Hindi film videos, while MTV Italia reflects the indigenous passion for food with ‘MTV Kitchen,’ where artists share their favorite recipes alongside their music. On the homefront, the war still looks a little one-sided, with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilara and boy bands ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys continuing to dominate MTV airplay. But global artists such as Hong Kong’s Coco Lee, Colombian star Shakira, Chile’s La Ley or Spain’s Alejandro Sanz are establishing beach heads with U.S. auds.”