MTV To Offer New Web Sites Covering … Pretty Much Everything

Having carved its cable music stations into a wide variety of offerings (some of which present little actual music programming), MTV Networks intends to do the same on the Net. Following the pattern set when it launched a site associated with VH1’s “Best Week Ever” show, MTV’s Music and Logo Group is now developing at least 20 “hyper-programmed experiences,” which translate into narrow online channels, set to debut during the first half of next year, many apparently heavy on aggregating and promoting user-generated content. Most of the “channels” in development are linked to TV shows, such as “Word Series of Pop Culture,” “Talent Load,” and “Web Junk,” a viral video play (how viral is something going to be if a mainstream media players identifies it as “viral”?). Some seem to be more standalone, such as “Yo Momma,” which will attempt to differentiate itself from the many hundreds of other “yo mama” joke sites on the Net, a site covering faith and spirituality, and a site for posting and rating, as the press release puts it, “lists of ANYTHING.”
MTV Networks has shown some real smarts on the online front, and this could be an interesting experiment. It’s great that it is presenting what appears to be a great number of low-cost and low-exposure sites to see what its audience (both coming from TV and discovering sites via the Net), but nothing turns off aspiring hipsters more than a big, fat media company pretending to be street. The success of many of these sites will be based on how much user-generated content they garner; it will be fascinating to see if MTV will be comfortable giving up enough editorial control on its own branded properties to let that happen.
An interview with Van Toffler about this deal/launches here on AdAge.