×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viacom Chief Says ‘Reimagining’ of MTV Is in Works

After MTV launched in 1981, a hot ad campaign prompted thousands of young viewers to shout its slogan: I want my MTV!” In recent times, it seems, that phrase has not been on as many lips.

With MTV suffering the defection of viewers who consume video entertainment in new ways, such as on tablets, that aren’t always counted in Nielsen tallies, the network’s owner, Viacom, is preparing to unveil a broad overhaul in coming weeks, said Philippe Dauman, the company’s executive chairman  and chief executive, in an interview.

Executives will debut “a more significant re-imagining of the brand,” said Dauman, when hosting an “upfront” presentation for advertisers in April. “I’m confident we are going to get there,” he said of plotting a revival of the network famous for everything from hosts known as VJs to the reality program “Jersey Shore.”  Ad revenue at the network has been choppy in recent years, falling in both 2013 and 2014, according to data from market-research firm SNL Kagan.

MTV’s primetime ratings among viewers between 18 and 49 fell about 8% for the week ending March 20, according to research from Todd Juenger, a media-industry analyst for Bernstein. Quarter to date, however, the network’s viewership in that category is up an equivalent amount, thanks to new episodes of shows like “Teen Mom” and “The Shannara Chronicles.” With advertisers expected to earmark more money for TV’s annual upfront market this year, boosting MTV seems like a critical move.

Some steps have already been taken. Sean Atkins, an executive vice president of digital media and strategy at Discovery Communications, was named MTV’s president last year. In February, Viacom renamed Palladia, a digital-cable network devoted to live music and rechristened it “MTV Live” and said it would be devoted more closely to live music.  And MTV has made little secret of its desire to revive MTV News, hiring staffers who can chronicle national politics and popular culture and place those reports online, on the network or on new vehicles like podcasts. Executives in coming weeks are expected to detail new plans to strengthen MTV’s connection to music and pop culture.

“This next broadcast year is going to be a landmark for that brand,” Dauman said.

More TV

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    CBS Claims Commitment to Ending Harassment. Its Actions Say Otherwise (Column)

    At this point, a new breaking sexual harassment case at CBS isn’t exactly a surprise. Over and over again, powerful CBS company men from producers to executives to the ex-CEO himself have made headlines for propagating decades of harassment and abuse, with dozens of witnesses affirming that the pattern was business as usual. But as [...]

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    James Corden's Fulwell 73 to Develop Sci-Fi Drama at CBS (EXCLUSIVE)

    CBS is developing a drama series that hails from James Corden’s production company, Fulwell 73, Variety has learned exclusively. The series is titled “Embody.” In the series, after a mission gone wrong renders her permanently blind, a special agent volunteers for an experimental government program that can temporarily transfer her consciousness into someone else’s body, giving [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content