Nov 15, 2018

Nobody does content like MTV, said the network’s president in an interview with Bloomberg Television.


This morning, after MTV announced a return of its legendary Spring Break, President Chris McCarthy appeared with Vonnie Quinn on Bloomberg TV to talk about the brand’s resurgence and evolution.

MTV’s growth—marked by a boost in revenue and ratings—has hinged upon a reimagined content plan, as well as a deliberate move into adjacent businesses such as live events (MTV acquired the SnowGlobe Music Festival earlier this week), and MTV Studios, which develops original series for streaming video on demand services and other premium partners. These moves mirror Viacom’s broader efforts to diversify and grow its business.

“Today, we have 19 of the top 25 [unscripted] series, and so we think that regardless of the platform and where it goes, the need for content will not change,” said McCarthy. “And nobody does that like we do.”

McCarthy highlighted four key points during the interview:

1) MTV’s brand remains incredibly strong.

“Our secret is that we are leaning back into our strengths. We have an incredible brand—with 95 percent brand awareness. We have one of the largest libraries of youth and music IP in the history of television, and we have a creative culture that is one of the best in terms of storytelling. And we leaned back into that about two years ago when I took over, and it really turned the ship around rather quickly. We reversed a five-year rating decline in just eight months, and today we are actually leading the industry in growth.”

2) MTV is growing across multiple platforms.

“Young people are consuming content on every platform. It’s no longer either or. It’s all about more. You know, we are growing on cable. In fact, we are the fastest growing in cable, we have the biggest social and digital platforms, and with MTV Studios, we will be opening up our library and IP to create content for our streaming partners and turning what was our perceived competitors into our new customers. … Their need for content is insatiable, we have this large library of IP, which we’re only tapping five percent of it. So we have 95 percent more to go.”

3) MTV is uniquely positioned to meet the insatiable demand for content.

“I think the need for content is never going to change. We look at the last 10 years, consumers are spending two thirds of their waking hours consuming content, that’s up from one third about 10 years ago. And the need for content is never going to stop. ... Great content is something we provide, and we do it in a unique and special way.”

4) MTV is tapping its iconic IP to feed a global content pipeline.

“We need to reach inside the consumer and create that demand and unlock that passion point they didn’t know. For example, Floribama Shore, you know, we launched that using the Shore IP, and the honest truth is it has nothing to do with the Jersey Shore, but used that Shore IP to bring consumers in and now it is the biggest number three series of all last year. … I know it is different to think about television IP as true IP, but IP’s platform agnostic. And that’s where we see huge opportunity.”