MTV Launches SVOD App in U.K.

'Jersey Shore' cast members meet 'Geordie Shore' in London - H 2018
Courtesy of MTV

MTV Play will cost 3.99 pounds ($5.20) a month and target young, mobile-first audiences as the Viacom music and reality brand goes direct-to-consumer for the first time.

Viacom’s Viacom International Media Networks unit is launching MTV’s first-ever direct-to-consumer subscription VOD streaming app, dubbed MTV Play, which will initially be available only in the U.K.

The app for younger, mobile-first audiences who want to watch MTV’s youth-focused content will cost £3.99 ($5.20) per month and include catch-up and box set content and a live feed of the MTV U.K. linear channel.

Viacom said the launch “marks a global first in providing a full MTV longform content experience in a stand-alone subscription app.”

“Our major distribution partners, such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT, do an excellent job of bringing MTV to younger audiences across the U.K., but we know there is a segment of younger potential MTV fans who sit beyond the basic pay TV bundles,” explained Arran Tindall, senior vp commercial and content distribution at Viacom International Media Networks. “MTV Play puts the full MTV content experience directly into the hands of young people for the first time in a way that is accessible and affordable.”

MTV Play is initially being made available through a direct subscription from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, but Viacom is planning to also distribute it in partnership with telecommunications operators in the coming months.

“MTV Play will feature hundreds of hours of catch-up and box set content, including the latest episodes of smash-hit series such as Geordie Shore, Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club and The Charlotte Show, as well as back catalog favorites, including The Hills, The Valleys and Jersey Shore,” Viacom said. “It will also feature shortform digital original series, including Show Us Ur Phone, What the Yuck and MTV Meets.”

Dan Fahy, vp commercial and content distribution, VIMN U.K., Northern and Eastern Europe, added: “MTV’s reality and music content continues to resonate incredibly strongly with young audiences in the U.K., and we believe there’s a further appetite for an app like this. We’re speaking with mobile operators and other platforms about how they can make MTV Play available to their subscribers.”

MTV Play is part of Viacom’s growing portfolio of mobile products, which includes a global suite of branded “Play Plex” mobile apps and direct-to-consumer SVOD kids service Noggin, which is available in the U.S. and Latin America.

"This product has been carefully designed to complement MTV’s Pay TV partnerships with Sky, Now TV, Virgin Media BT and TalkTalk and is focused on introducing a new young segment of viewers to MTV that may well progress to a broader pay TV offering over time," Fay tells THR when asked about pay TV partners' reaction to the service. 

And he says company is optimistic that the service will find an audience. "We are confident there is demand for this product from an important segment of younger viewers who are not the decision-makers regarding their household’s TV service."

Could the app launch in additional markets? "There are currently no plans for this product to be launched outside of the U.K., but there is always potential to roll it out more broadly if successful," Fahy said.