What's your first thought when you hear about a new "music, pop culture, entertainment lifestyle" network? You’re about to yawn, perhaps?
But wait. Take note of the names attached to this new project, called AXS TV (you can pronounce it "Access TV") -- Ryan Seacrest, media and sports billionaire Mark Cuban, live entertainment impresario AEG, and powerful Hollywood agent Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
Cuban’s modestly sized traditional cable/satellite network HDNet would be the base for a new bigger network. AEG would provide programming and access to worldwide live entertainment content. CAA’s roster of music clients isn't too shabby. And Seacrest, for the most part, adds his name and connections (he doesn't appear to be part of the on-air talent roster.)
Starting or reinventing a cable network is no easy task. Just ask Oprah Winfrey. And starting one that would seemingly compete with the likes of MTV, E! or VH1 adds more complexity.
The hunger for music-entertainment content is the major tease here for TV producers, business partners, advertisers -- and, of course, viewers. (For many, MTV pretty much abandoned its music roots a long time ago). Any new music channel would be steered to all-important young viewers -- and that always brings in big business interests. But supporters should remember that this stuff can be fleeting.
While MTV has been riding high from the likes of "Jersey Shore" and "Teen Mom," the channel has seen notable ups and downs. That's just the fickle nature of its young viewers. For many cable network programmers, this is viewed as a limit to growth.
As it goes forward, AXS TV will have to consider this, as well as the reasons why MTV left some of this content behind. This isn't 1990. You can get lots of music content everywhere, including pre-recorded "live" music, but not actual live concerts -- which seems to be the new channel's interesting niche.
MTV's programming has gone through seismic shifts through the years -- all to keep pace with its quickly changing young viewers. In the digital age, this has accelerated tenfold.
The question is: Does Seacrest-Cuban-AEG-CAA have the stomach to ride this fast-moving train, as MTV has?