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MTV To Move Into Virtual Worlds

MTV Networks several weeks ago announced that it aims to move full-throttle into virtual worlds, believing community-oriented 3-D platforms represent the future of engaging consumers with its popular brands. Essentially, the Viacom company plans to create communities around its popular TV shows, allowing users to interact with TV personalities and create their own content. MTV execs outlined its strategy during a three-part keynote address on Wednesday at a virtual worlds conference.

Two branded virtual worlds, Virtual Laguna Beach and Virtual Hills, are already live, while a third, Virtual Pimp My Ride, is on the way. They were created using the same platform designed by Makena Technologies' for, one of the original virtual worlds. During his keynote, MTV's Matt Bostwick, senior vice president for franchise development at MTV Networks' Music Group, said more than 600,000 users signed up for its virtual worlds in just six months, and more than 64 percent come back regularly, meaning 1.4 times per week for an average of 37 minutes. Bostwick expects to hit 3 million registered users by December.

The ad model will be the usual for virtual worlds: branded, interactive content, dubbed "4-D branding." Examples include branded cell phones and Pepsi-named hoverboards and scooters. MTV is really banking on virtual worlds becoming a huge success.



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