MTV Asia shifts focus

Going pan-Asian over localized

HONG KONG -- MTV Networks Asia is overhauling its creative and editorial policies, shifting from a country-by-country focus to a Pan-Asian focus on music well-liked across the continent and the Asian Internet.

Dubbed MTV 4.0, the new direction will see the company promote a closer link between artists and music labels, focus on Web site content, and move to a consistent brand identity across Asia, Amit Jain, MTV Networks Asia's executive vp and managing director told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

"The big evolution that is currently happening with MTV in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia is that highly localized channels are now switching to a single editorial policy picking up what are common music preferences in both pan-Asian and international music," Jain said.

Jain spoke about the new strategy on the eve of MTV parent company Viacom Inc.'s quarterly earnings report Friday in New York, where its stock has fallen about 10% in the first quarter.

Jain said that the MTV Asia feed will remain international. The MTV China feed, targeting Asian youth, is now being fed across the continent.

Using MTV's Olympic programming an example Jain said, "Our channel is intensely Chinese, so this isn't about getting global or Western culture into China, but about promoting Chinese culture, and Chinese music and taking it to a wider platform."

Jain said MTV Asia's new strategy will include a 24/12 strategy showcasing 24 artists over 12 months. A mix of well-known and up-and-coming local acts will be chosen in consultation with music labels and promoted aggressively, Jain said.

"We are picking up who are the favorite artists to show every fortnight and they will be fronting our channels," he said.

MTV Asia will be launching an online music player in the next few months in conjunction with Asian online music platforms, Jain said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.