VH1 becomes MTV Classic in Australia

Name change reflects focus change for music video channel

SYDNEY -- MTV Networks Australia is scrapping the VH1 brand here, replacing it with a locally created channel, MTV Classic, from May 1, the company said Friday.

MTV Classic will target the 25 to 40-year-olds, with a “much purer music proposition” than VH1.

The channel will have a music-inspired entertainment format centered on artists, music genres and programming from the 1980s to the present. The channel is aiming to skew younger than the VH1 demographic, which has been as high as 50.

MTVNA managing director Dave Sibley said the channel will showcase the artists and music that have been part of the music landscape since the network’s inception in 1981.

It’ll feature the back catalog and current hits of artists such as Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson and Prince, alongside Australian acts from the same era including INXS, Powderfinger and Silverchair. It will also be the home of MTV music-related series such as MTV Unplugged, Behind the Music, Storytellers and The Osbournes and will screen early artist footage from the MTV archives.

At the same time, a one-off live music event promoting the new channel will take palce instead of the annual MTV Australia Awards this year.

VH1 hasn't established the profile in this market that MTV has and regularly airs to an audience share of just 0.2%.

Australia is the only market globally with plans to replace the VH1 brand, an MTVNA spokeswoman said.