Thursday, September 6, 2007

MTV: Marketing Television?

The slow demise of MTV from a once maverick cutting edge pillar of music (and pop) culture to a celebrity-obsessed orgy of short attention-span teenage entertainment and product placement has been a tragic thing to witness for those of us that spent our early years growing up alongside the cable network. While Yo! MTV Raps, Liquid Television, 120 Minutes, et. al. are gone forever, it is still surprising (at least for me) to see how far around the bend MTV has gone since the glory days. With the MTV Video Music Awards. . .er, excuse me. . .the VMA's (remind me again when it became necessary to use acronyms for everything?) just around the corner, I was once again reminded about how far MTV has fallen in the realm of cultural relevancy.

It was with this in mind that I read a story in today's Hollywood Reporter about how MTV is the most "innovative" network at branding content for their advertisers. Basically, the article is an interview with MTV Networks' Executive VP for Integrated Marketing and Brand Partnerships and it outlines how MTV (and their associated cable networks like VH1, CMT, Logo, etc.) has championed "creating original programming for advertisers." That is, rather than figuring out ways to integrate products into existing programs, MTV instead figures out ways to integrate content into existing products. The interview is truly a fascinating read, if for no other reason than it illustrates how the need to satisfy advertisers has led to the bastardization of good programming. Keep this in mind as you watch the countless promotions for the Palms Casino Resort and the new 50 Cent and Kanye West albums that are sure to litter the VMA broadcast on Sunday.

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