NBC And MTV Both Need An Old-School Hit
On Wednesday, Viacom president/CEO Philippe Dauman called for a makeover of MTV. The day before, Jeff Zucker, president/CEO of NBC Universal, had said that NBC needs to be reinvented as well.
Blame MTV for missing out on all that the social media/Facebook/Twittering world has to offer -- and the lack of high-rated shows. Blame NBC for losing some of its brand value -- and the lack of high- rated shows.
In the coming weeks, MTV will launch a new series or event every couple of weeks -- sort of a carpet-bombing approach to programming for its core 12-24 audience.
Straight-ahead TV content with all the usual appendages -- the Internet, mobile, and social networking -- is the plan. It seems the right thing to do, as research has shown traditional TV content is where young viewers still gravitate in large numbers. TV is still the mother ship.
NBC will have its own bit of programming blitz. Though the first two days brought good ratings for the new "Jay Leno Show," there's still a long way to go.
After months of downplaying NBC as being a smaller and smaller piece of NBC Universal's empire -- with its cable networks continuing to grab more revenues and a higher profit piece of NBC Universal overall -- Zucker finally pointed to NBC's being an important piece of the pie, but one that needs fixing.
What NBC is to NBC Universal, MTV is to Viacom. It's the public TV face of their respective media companies.
Though Viacom gets big value from brands like Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and more recently, the strong ground-swell marketing push for video game "The Beatles: Rock Band," it still needs a strong MTV.
A powerful nine million viewers for MTV's annual big event, its "Video Music Awards" -- a 6% improvement from a year ago -- shows MTV still means something to music fans. Nine million sounds like a niche cable network to me.
But while "The Hills" continues to be one of MTV's signature series, it doesn't offer up big numbers like "The Closer" does for TNT; or "Burn Notice" does for USA Network; or "The O'Reilly Factor" does for the Fox News Channel.
It's TV: old school. MTV needs at least one big, noticeable hit. Ditto NBC.