MTV is making a couple of shows available simultaneously online and on TV. "MTV Video Music Awards," and "Total Request Live" will run on the broadband channel MTV Overdrive as a test this summer, with traditional TV airings on MTV.
At the same time, Warner Bros is starting a new way of selling off-network syndication shows to stations. Its plans for "Two and a Half Men" will sell stations not just the rights to air on shows on traditional TV airwaves---but also, in a syndication-industry first--on the Internet.
The key here is that stations can air the show on their own Web sites. Warner Bros. had considered keeping that Internet option itself, putting the show on WarnerBros.com.
The difference between MTV and Warner Bros: "Two and a Half Men" airings on the Internet will occur a week after its TV play. MTV thinks that timing would too late for most of its young viewers.
MTV says those 12-24 viewers are always multitasking... online, watching TV, listening to music, talking on the phone, and instant messaging. Running shows at the same time online and on TV makes sense. (Of course, shows like "TRL" and the "VMAs" have more immediacy).
But where are the advertisers? Viewers' eyes can't be in two places at the same time. Wouldn't this hurt MTV's TV business, especially with advertisers, and with viewers whose attentions change second-by-second?
Advertisers don't think it'll be a problem for MTV viewers. Not so for older networks. Pamela Zucker, senior vice president at MediaVest USA, told the New York Times: "If this were CBS and the audience were watching '60 Minutes,' I don't think they would get it."
Nor "Two and a Half Men," we guess. That's at least one difference between syndication and cable venues. Could that mean "Two and a Half Men" is only half its value a week later?
Not close. Warner Bros. still believes most of "Men"'s full value still resides on TV. But MTV sees TV's future as closer to cream and milk: half and half.