With today’s young audiences looking for new kinds of content served to them across new channels—and in an effort to adjust to lower ratings and viewership—MTV is focusing on mobile and streaming video while making strides to relate to audiences across platforms and cultures.
International audiences are being offered greater control over how and when they get their MTV. Brand-new mobile apps MTV Play and MTV Trax, both released in Europe, let smartphone users play the network’s most popular shows and stream curated music playlists. As part of an international rebrand, the “I Want My MTV” slogan officially became “I Am My MTV.” This audience-centric initiative coincides with #MTVBump, which attempts to merge digital and traditional broadcast by pushing user-generated social content onto the airwaves and across all outlets.
Its content strategy is informed by market research, which reveals that today’s teens are edgier, more selective, and more socially aware. Recent shows like Scream contain more complex plot lines, while the network’s new YouTube channel, MTV Braless, probes gender and sexuality issues, and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas explored race in the network’s documentary White People. MTV also debuted its Video With a Social Message category at the 2015 Video Music Awards, bringing real-world relevance to the program. Though viewership was down 18 percent for the keystone event, video streams were up 55 percent over last year and MTV app streams rose 643 percent—evidence of where audiences are truly engaging.
Following Viacom’s recent restructuring efforts, MTV continues to position itself as “the world’s premier youth entertainment brand,” with new programming, platforms, and social initiatives.