VH1 offers user-gen ‘Pop Up Video’ service

Musicvids bow online prior to series' Oct. 3 return

VH1 is putting a 21st-century spin on a 1990s TV series being revived next month.

Weeks before the channel’s cult-classic “Pop Up Video” returns to the air, VH1.com hopes to spread the word by allowing users to annotate a selection of music videos with the series’ trademark on-screen bubbles. Users can log in and share via Facebook or Twitter. Starbucks is on board as official launch sponsor.

“We’re excited to take this iconic franchise and reinvent it in this new digital space in a way that’s meaningful to our audience,” said Kristin Frank, g.m. of digital at MTV and VH1.

Launching Sept. 13, the online “Pop” will continue even after the show’s Oct. 3 debut, and the 50 videos available will be refreshed.

Videos will range from contemporary hits like Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” to oldie-but-goodies including Devo’s “Whip It.”

Most videos that appear on air during TV episodes will not be available online, where the collection is restricted to those the network were able to obtain clearances for online usage.

Just don’t get too creative: Profanities and other objectionable language will not get past the website’s filter.

When VH1 first announced in May that 60 episodes of the series had been re-ordered from production company Eyeboogie, the network disclosed it was working on a user-generated element for the show, which ran from 1996-2002. While the show predated social networks, VH1 president Tom Calderone believes “Pop” always had interactivity in its DNA.

“In a way, ‘Pop Up Video’ was the original musical Wikipedia, the place where you learned about the artists,” he said.

While there are no plans to air the user-generated videos on TV, there will be a more direct tie-in to the Web via polls relevant to particular videos. The results will be revealed on air, which will also promote the dot-com “Pop.”

“Pop” will be stripped weekdays in double runs beginning at noon.