MTV gets India makeover

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NEW DELHI -- Mumbai-based MTV Networks India, part of the recently announced Viacom-18 joint venture, relaunched its flagship MTV channel Saturday with new tagline "It's My MTV" replacing "MTV Enjoy."

Viacom-18 is a partnership between Viacom and Mumbai-based Indian broadcaster TV18. In a statement Monday, MTV Networks southeast Asia executive vp and managing director Amit Jain said: "MTV, in its new avatar will be the shortcut to anything cool, for the 'my generation.' This is an India-specific move."

The repositioning is aimed at infusing more nonmusic shows such as "MTV It Sucks," which will present "not so cool events and occurrences of daily life," slated for launch over the next two months. The MTV International show "Becoming" will see an Indian version titled "I Superstar," while other shows include "Crazysexycool.com," "Eat This: MTV Weird Food Guide," "MTV Love Bytes" and "MTV Wear Their Skin."

"Youngsters want more than just music," said Ashish Patil, general manager and vp creative and content at MTV India. "MTV will now become personalized with our viewers. Each of our new programs will be driven by viewers."

User-generated inputs include a new initiative in which blank MTV logos are handed out at public venues inviting viewers to fill in their perceptions of MTV. Some of these user-generated logos will be used on-air, including some designed by Bollywood celebrities Bobby Deol and Shah Rukh Khan.

Without giving figures, Jain said MTV India's operations have seen a 50% growth in revenue for the first half of 2007 corresponding to the same period last year.

MTV India's last major relaunch was in 1996, when it first localized its content to include Indian film song clips, music videos and other programming to reduce its primary staple of international music and programming content.

The latest relaunch is seen as an extension of the business plan announced during the Viacom-18 launch, which includes both a revamp of the group's existing businesses as well as the prepping of such new projects as the launch of a general entertainment channel.
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