MTV Outgrows its Audience….

This is more David Card’s domain, but given that it’s a fairly major landmark I thought I’d weight in with my penny’s worth too.

Today MTV turns 25, in turn making it older than its core audience (12-24). Like an aging rock band, MTV has to hope that it can still appeal to its younger fans despite entering a more ‘mature’ life stage.

Of course MTV has morphed beyond recognition since it first hit the screens with “Video Killed the Radio Star” in 1981. Still a great choice for an opening track. Nowadays the widespread refrain (at least from fans from an earlier era) is that MTV isn’t actually music TV anymore. MTV has made a strategic decision to broaden its programming beyond music videos and turn into a life style channel for its target audience. This is partly a recognition that music plays a less central role in the media entertainment mix for today’s youth but more to do with the challenge of selling advertising when your audience keeps popping in and out with alarming unpredictability. Thus the need to implement programmes that last longer than 3-5 minutes, and hence why we have been presented with gems such as “Date My Mom.

So what next for MTV. Will they still be here in 5 years’ time or will they follow Top of the Pops to the music studios in the sky? Because MTV has diversified so much the comparison doesn’t really apply. Yes of course MTV will still be here in 5 years time (though it may well have morphed further) and actually, I’d put a small bit of money on Top of The Pops being back by then too.