I Want My Flux: MTVN Acquires Social Project

Mika Salmi Global Digital MediaFurther solidifying its social media strategy, MTV Networks on Monday announced the acquisition of Social Project, its partner of the past two years in the building and deployment of social media aggregator Flux.com. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"This is a media-centric approach to social networking," said Judy McGrath, chairman and CEO of MTVN, on Monday during a presentation at the company's headquarters in Times Square.

MTVN first invested in Social Project, then known as Tagworld, in late 2006. Out of that partnership came the open social networking service named Flux, which connects users' content consumption and sharing, social connections, and behavior across disparate platforms and sites.

"Our mantra with this is being open, flat, and connected," said Mika Salmi, president of global digital media for MTVN. "And Flux is the linchpin for our social networking strategy."

"When we first invested in it, we didn't say 'let's compete against MySpace and Facebook,'" Salmi said regarding the Flux foundation of facilitating connections between various networks. "We're bringing a play in the social media space that it didn't have before."

Today, Flux has 7.6 million registered users--2 million of whom signed on since later last year--consuming and sharing content across a growing network of more than 1,300 entertainment, pop culture and music sites online.

The Flux Publisher Network is presently made up of about 35 MTVN Web sites, including MTV.com, ComedyCentral.com and Spike.com, along with targeted vertical sites like Jackassworld.com, TheDailyShow.com, and Atom.com.

On MTV.com alone, the Flux community has grown to more than 600,000 verified members, making it the largest Flux-powered site.

In addition, Josh Dern, formerly vice president of the network's social media strategy, is heading up Flux with the new title of SVP and general manager of social media at MTVN. In his new role, Dern is reporting to Kenny Miller, EVP and creative director of global digital media at MTVN.

"We wanted Flux to be about media discovery," Dern said. "This came about because we saw the kind of fragmentation that was happening in the industry."

For advertisers, Flux now offers new opportunities for reaching and engaging consumers through Tribes, MTVN's recently launched demo-focused vertical ad networks built around its core online properties.

The Flux universe will expand across multiple channels, including mobile and set-top boxes. This, in due time, will lead to expansive multichannel campaigns for advertisers, Dern said.

Social Project and its 31 employees will remain based in Santa Monica, Calif.

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