MTV: Content Is King, Pushes Pod Takeovers To Advertisers
Its thrust: no matter where young people turn for entertainment, MTV's appealing narratives, top-quality productions and compelling characters will drive consumption. And those content qualities make the net an attractive venue for marketers.
To hammer home the point at an upfront event Tuesday, MTV president Christina Norman showed a silly YouTube clip, then asked the roomful of advertisers, "Is that really the place you want to embed your message?"
Norman cited several ways MTV is looking to work with advertisers to build engagement and commercial retention, notably "pod takeovers," in which a single advertiser can own a full commercial break. The network also offers ads woven within shows, logos on the sides of screens and product placement, including the chance to make a product part of a storyline. Norman citied examples used in the series "Run's House" and "8th and Ocean."
Sean Moran, who oversees ad sales at MTV, told the upfront audience the network is eager to find ways to use the MTV stable of platforms, VOD, mobile, broadband, etc., to deliver their message. "Creative and effective ideas are the currency that matters," he said.
While acknowledging technology has had a "seismic impact," Norman said MTV's path to success is as a content provider that's platform agnostic. It's prepared to create the best programs or experiences for current and future mediums. "We didn't buy MySpace, and we didn't buy YouTube," she said. "We're not a technology company."
She cited the emergence of the virtual world craze and MTV's ability to migrate existing and alluring characters to that space, pointing to "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills" as examples of how it can outfox YouTube-type distributors. More than 650,000 people have created avatars and entered virtual "Hills," spending an average of 40 minutes a visit.
Another example Norman offered is the series "Dances From the Hood," created exclusively for mobile, which could be turned into a TV or online property.