As MTV Turns 40, It’s Time to Embrace the Generation That Grew Up With It (COLUMN)
MTV turns 40 on Sunday, and it hardly looks its age. Well, that’s because it hardly looks like, well, anything anymore. At least that’s the depressing state of the linear MTV channel, which i…
” didn’t air on MTV, but rather on Paramount Plus. Under Sheila Nevins, MTV Documentary Films is continuing to grow into a top-notch label for docs, recently earning an Emmy nom for “76 Days” — but that film ran on Pluto TV, and later Paramount Plus, not on MTV. MTV Entertainment Studios landed four Emmy nominations, but not for MTV fare — it was via two for “Emily in Paris,” on Netflix, and two for “Reno 911,” on the late Quibi.
I can’t fault the idea behind this. ViacomCBS and the MTV Entertainment Group are moving the brand to where the audiences are. And in reviving classic MTV and VH1 titles like “MTV Unplugged” and “Behind the Music,” there’s logic in capitalizing on nostalgia to sell audiences on a Paramount Plus subscription. It worked with “The Real World Homecoming,” which I devoured on the streaming service (after it frustratingly never appeared on MTV itself).
But that brings us back to linear MTV. What to do with a legacy linear brand on autopilot? For its 40th anniversary, I say: Give MTV back to the 40-year-olds.MTV is a brand that has always adapted to the times. And even now, that means a new MTV for the streaming generation. That’s fine. But young viewers don’t watch linear TV anymore. Hence the decision to program mostly “Ridiculousness” repeats on the channel as a bit of a nightlight. But are we really going to let MTV as a channel fade away, with a whimper like that? headtopics.com
Ironically, in 2021 MTV has once again morphed its brand toward the Gen X crowd (who’s watching those docs and “The Real World: Homecoming”) and millennials (“Emily in Paris”) than Gen Z, who aren’t… watching TV at all.That’s why I’d say, ViacomCBS would have nothing to lose at this point in making MTV back into a lifestyle channel for the original MTV Generation. A generation that, yes, still subscribes to cable. And who still fondly remembers watching wall-to-wall Live Aid coverage on MTV. Jamming to acoustic Nirvana on “MTV Unplugged.” Playing along to the pop-culture trivia on “Remote Control.” Giggling to “Just Say Julie” Brown and “Beavis & Butt-head.” Watching Vanilla Ice on “The Week in Rock” trying to justify that sample he swiped from Queen and David Bowie. Getting schooled in hip-hop 101 on “Yo! MTV Raps.” And watching the most popular videos on “Dial MTV” and, later, “TRL.”
MTV as a music destination still exists: There are three MTV music video channels on Pluto TV. And the little-watched MTV Classic, available on cable and satellite providers including DirecTV, offers up a steady diet of old music videos. But there’s no personality or life to those channels, which are also run on autopilot. Take some of those elements, add in library fare and tease out some of the MTV exclusive content found on Paramount Plus, and you’ve got at least a channel that serves as a sales tool for why the brand still means something to multiple generations.
MTV is already embracing its roots, via all of those reboots being produced for Paramount Plus. Why not use linear MTV to promote that fact, and serve as a bit of a barker channel for those revivals, while also still making it a destination for the MTV Generation? Heading into middle age is tough enough. MTV, let’s do it together.Read more: Variety »
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franklinavenue Baloney. Judy McGrath embraced the platform of social engineering in the mid/late 80’s and essentially ruined the idea. Ramming rap down the throats of viewers was one thing. But it’s programs that championed the grotesque, another. This romanticized reflection is ridiculous franklinavenue I remember when I would just leave MTV on all day and watched the cool music videos. Now, it's just teen programs. But the thing is, do people even invest in music videos?
They should rename it Ridiculousness TV because that’s the only thing they ever show these days. franklinavenue I your 40s? You were fucking 3. Stop it franklinavenue MTV was a cultural phenomenon in the 80’s and 90’s only to be ruined in the 2000’s. YouTube didn’t ruin MTV, their investment in reality TV did. YouTube is where we went because of MTV’s poor choice in programming.
franklinavenue MTV in the '80s was incredibly fun and enjoyable. A thrilling part of my childhood. franklinavenue 💿💿💿 franklinavenue Means more to people older, because 40 years ago, 1-9 year old weren't watching, but man it was great for teens, etc. Miss the music still. It's all Ridiculousness and drunk shows. lol
franklinavenue People have been bitching about the SAME SHIT with MTV for thirty years and it's a sad testament to Generation X's inability to move on from their teenage hangups. franklinavenue de-evolution of the channel? you mean the nonstop Ridiculousness marathons 24/7. I want to file a complaint to Xfinity XfinitySupport Why do you guys allow MTV to play 1 show all day long, every day I don't want to pay for this.
franklinavenue This is true. MTV was such a driving, cultural force for a generation—it’s painful to see what it devolved into.
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franklinavenue The GenXers have been saying this for years. MTV should have returned to the music years ago. mrjayhook 🥳😳😬 The generation that grew up with MTV is cranky and would prefer you shut up, give us our latchkeys back, and bring 120 Minutes. Wall to wall music videos without all the reality show crap. MTV was the visual soundtrack of our lives.
It's a shame... And not only because of the reasons mentioned in here. MTV didn't only moved because of the generation shift, moved from music period. Only filled with that reality show crap. When MTV was worth watching. .ForeverKeogh Imagine thrusting yourself into every conversation half as much as Gen X
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