MTV launching companion sites to TV franchises

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MTV Networks Music and Logo Group is launching more than 20 new online channels next year, the company said Monday.

Called "hyper programmed" online experiences or vertical channels, the sites will target niche audiences by mixing programming with user-generated content.

The channels -- many of which are companion sites to the group's existing television franchises such as MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" and VH1's "Department of Acceptable Media" -- are expected to launch in the first and second quarter.

"We're excited about these new channels because they are part of what the MTV Music Group has historically been about: meeting consumers' tastes," said Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group and president of Logo.

This year, in an effort to experiment with these type of online channels, VH1 launched BestWeekEver.tv as a companion outlet to its series "Best Week Ever." The site offers exclusive mobile and video content. In addition, this fall MTV launched "Virtual Laguna Beach," which is tied to the popular TV series.

Graden noted that the creation of the channels is in part because of the strong response received from the existing sites. "We've always played to special niches, and this just very much fits in with that strategy," he said.

Included in the slate of upcoming online channels is "Web Junk," which is a companion to the VH1 TV show "Web Junk 20" and highlights the best video on the Web.

The "World Series of Pop Culture," an extension of the VH1 show, will offer users the chance to compete online, while "Eye Candy" will serve as a video hub for pop culture enthusiasts where they can indulge in VH1's celebrity footage through viewing, downloading and editing it into their own mash-ups.
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