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Viacom Takes MTV Direct to Consumers With MTV Play App in the U.K.

Viacom is going direct-to-consumer, launching an MTV Play app in the U.K. It marks the first time that Viacom, one of the big beasts of the pay-TV world, has taken one of its flagship brands straight to fans in this way outside of kids’ TV, where it has a Noggin app in the U.S. and Latin America.

The MTV Play SVOD service is priced at £3.99 ($5.21) a month after a 30-day free trial. It will offer a lineup of MTV unscripted shows including “Geordie Shore,” “Teen Mom U.K.,” and “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club.” There will also be a feed of the linear MTV channel and access to older MTV shows, including “The Hills” and “Jersey Shore.”

MTV Play joins an increasingly competitive SVOD market in the U.K. NBCUniversal also has a reality show app called Hayu, which started out in the U.K. and is being rolled out internationally.

“Our major distribution partners such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT do an excellent job of bringing MTV to younger audiences across the U.K., but we know there is a segment of younger potential MTV fans who sit beyond the basic pay-TV bundles,” said Arran Tindall, SVP of commercial and content distribution at Viacom International Media Networks. “MTV Play puts the full MTV content experience directly into the hands of young people for the first time in a way that is accessible and affordable.”

Viacom already has several mobile-focused products, such as its Play Plex apps, that pay-TV platforms carrying its channels can offer their subscribers. MTV Play is available via the App Store or Google Play, and Viacom said it intends to find partners that will carry the app in the future.

Dan Fahy, VP of commercial and content distribution at VIMN, said: “We’re speaking with telco providers and other platforms about how they can make MTV Play available to their subscribers, which will form an important part of our distribution strategy alongside D2C.”

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