MTV's broadband channel Overdrive hasn't exactly been a hit: Consumers have been tuning in to MySpace or YouTube instead. So what's a media giant to do? Get niche. This year MTV will introduce 20 or so new "Web experiences," connected to its shows or to MTV-centric themes. "It became clear to us over time where you could create these vertical doors to aggregate greater streams and impressions," says Brian Graden, president of entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group, and also president of cable channel Logo.
Many of the verticals will be tied to shows such as MTV 's "The Real World," while others will cover topics like fashion and personal growth. The model for the new channels is "Virtual Laguna Beach," a digital version of the show, hosted by There.com. Sponsors include Procter & Gamble's Secret, Cingular and Pepsi.
MTV plans similar tailored sponsorships for the vertical channels. "We can present an even more customized opportunity for sponsors who want to be associated with a specific franchise," Graden says. He added that because the verticals business is new, MTV is open to experimenting with online ad models.Networks involved are MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo. Web properties in development include a companion site to the vh1 show "Web Junk 2.0," a "World Series of Pop Culture" based on the vh1 show, as well as MTV-styled channels dedicated to dance, faith, and "yo mama" jokes.