Wednesday, February 10, 2010

MTV is no longer Music Television

February 8, 2010 marks the end of an era.

MTV, which debuted on August 1, 1981, has always had the term "Music Television" at the bottom of its logo. It was a cable channel that became explosive thanks to the novel concept of playing music videos hosted by a "VJ".

I've been asked many times in recent years why MTV doesn't really play music videos anymore. Its a programming question (and since I'm a radio programmer it must be assumed by some people that I have the answer). The answer: Music videos are too short.

Television ratings are calculated the same way that radio ratings are: How many people are watching and how long they watch a particular channel or program.

MTV got to a point where they saw ratings declining back in the 1980's. Audiences would watch and if the next song wasn't one they liked they changed the channel. 3-4 minute viewing periods aren't nearly as effective at generating ratings share as 30 minutes (such as standard full length shows). "Remote Control" debuted in 1987 and was the first show on MTV that was longer than a music video. It was very successful and began a change in how MTV was programmed.

Fast forward to 2010. Music videos are a rare occurence on MTV. They run a lot of youth oriented reality shows now. It doesn't make sense to continue to have that on their logo so....

February 8, 2010: The official day "Music Television" has been removed from the MTV logo. The rest of the logo still looks basically like the original logo above where "Music Television" was.
MTV Music Television revolutionized the way music was consumed and thought of throughout the world. Its a historic moment to see a channel that changed history officially walk from that brand.