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MTVN Passes On Elaborate Upfront Show

MTV Networks is taking a pass on an elaborate upfront presentation this year, but will still--on May 8--give buyers and clients a look at upcoming programming across its portfolio. Once one of cable's most lavish upfront events, Hank Close, president of U.S. ad sales for the Viacom unit, says this year's version will last but an hour and will deliver a concise message. "We're no longer locked into having to do a long presentation," he says. "I've listened to [the] marketplace, and while we've done great shows in the past--ones that were greeted with a lot of enthusiasm--this is more about getting our brand proposition out across the entire house and talking about a new kind of [return-on-investment]."

MTVN is now pushing its multifaceted programming to "reinventing and re-creating the commercial experience," he adds. And Close will give an update to buyers on the net's experiments with a "scalable retention approach" on commercial time. "Channels like MTV and VH1 had been structured in a two-pod format, and so the breaks were sometimes a little long," he says. "Last year, we broke those up into a three-pod format, and both nets have improved significantly in terms of audience retention."



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