COLOGNE — AOL Time Warner and German music TV group Viva Media are putting the brakes on their joint venture music web Viva Plus and axing inhouse production.
Decision was announced without warning after Viva Media’s annual shareholder’s meeting on Friday, according to Viva insiders.
In an official statement issued Sunday, Viva said the decision was triggered by the need for “optimization” in a difficult market environment.
Viva Plus, successor of Viva Zwei, was labeled the “CNN of music TV” by Viva Media CEO Dieter Gorny when it launched at the beginning of the year.
But it now will be reduced to a station playing music clips. Viva Plus’ inhouse productions were mainly live shows, some of which were continued from Viva Zwei, and it had prided itself on its network of reporters for lifestyle news and gossip from the pop music capitals.
Viva Plus management will be combined with that of the main web Viva TV, and some 70 jobs in production will be lost.
AOL Time Warner holds 49% of Viva Plus and is also the largest single shareholder in parent Viva Media with 46.1%.