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Viacom, MTV Strike Out On Web

The "I want my MTV" days are long gone. That doesn't mean that MTV Networks is sinking--it's just that teenagers have more options these days than watching a single cable channel geared to their interests. MTV still tries to be everywhere kids are these days--it just hasn't worked. After Viacom and the rest of the world found out that kids are spending more of their time online, MTV followed--opening "MTV Overdrive," a free video Web site featuring music videos, news and MTV programming. But kids didn't bite this time. Overdrive averages less than 4 million unique users per month, compared with MySpace's 55 million and YouTube's 16 million monthly uniques. What's the moral of the story? Competition on TV is far more limited than it is on the Web. Almost anyone can enter the content game on the Web and do it well, at a fraction of the cost of producing a TV show. "If you could argue that [MTV] had a lock on the youth market, that lock has now been released to YouTube and other sites," says Dan Nova, managing general partner at VC firm Highland Capital Partners, an investment firm that has backed online video companies.

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