MTV dices up programs for Stew channel

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MTV is expected to announce a slate of new broadband, mobile and shortform programming Tuesday, following the success of the company's initial forays into these areas.

A new channel called the Stew will launch on www.mtv.com/overdrive as a broadband home for on-demand shortform programs, including original content, editorially selected user-generated submissions and footage from MTV's extensive archives. In addition to moments from "Jackass," "Andy Milonakis," "Stankervision" and other shows, viewers will get highlights like Denis Leary's infamous Cindy Crawford rant and Kurt Loder's impromptu interview with Madonna and Courtney Love from the MTV Video Music Awards.

Brian Graden, president of entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group and president Logo, said it was inspired by MTV's Sunday Stew programming block.

"MTV is in the content creation business, and in particular, celebrates a long history of creating buzzworthy shortform content," Graden said. "In that tradition, earlier this year we created dedicated shortform development teams, and began partnering with the creative community -- filmmakers, producers, artists and most certainly users and viewers -- to assemble a diverse slate of exciting concepts, the first of which debut with today's announcement."


Some concepts simply work better when they don't have to fit into a predetermined 22-minute slot, he said.

"It's liberating to express those ideas," Graden said. "Also, television is often a collaborative effort. A lot of these are individuals expressing an individual artistic view."

Content drawn from the Stew channel also will be available on Amp'd Mobile, which will give its subscribers exclusive mobile access. Amp'd Mobile in return will present a new weekly shortform segment on MTV and MTV2, completing the circle. Amp'd Mobile and MTV also will co-present a competition to give fans the unique opportunity to produce their very own short to premiere on Amp'd Mobile and ultimately the Stew with the help of Amp'd Mobile producers and facilities.

MTV's new shortform programs include: "Videos by Andrew," idiosyncratic music videos created by New Jersey college student Andrew Mathas; "My Tunes," in which a popular band writes a song based on photographs viewers have submitted that express a given theme; "Chloe," a live-action soap opera created by Terry McCluskey; "Hello, My Name Is ...," animated shorts from Fractured Hip Prods. that explain band names; "Paul Booth's Tattoo Theater," an unscripted show about Booth's clients told as he works on them; "Magical Realm," Richard Mather's twisted fairy tales; and "MTV Smashed," which takes footage from other MTV shows and edits it into a completely unrelated story.

Not all MTV programming will be available on all platforms, Graden said.

"We're seeing different usage patterns emerging," he said. "Each program has its own place. Sometimes you'll find something that will go across each platform, sometimes it fits better on one or another."

Among these patterns is that MTV's mobile content seems to be most popular with a primarily male urban/hip-hop audience and with early adopters, Graden said. Comedy does very well on MTV.com and broadband properties, which Graden said helped inspire the Stew channel. Short form shows that are an extension of televised programs also perform particularly well online among both males and females, he said.

MTV reported that August was Overdrive's highest month of traffic ever, with three times the streams as during August 2005 and four times the number of unique visitors. Each visitor spends an average of 20 minutes on the site per visit.

MTVN also claims to be the largest provider of video content to mobile handsets worldwide, with such domestic distribution partners as Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Cingular, Amp'd Mobile and Helio.
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