MECCA: MTV Executive Keynote

Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks music/film/logo group gave a keynote at MECCA…I tried recording it but he has the sort of deep, melodious voice that sounds good but doesn’t come out very clearly on recordings — I’ll have a look later to see if it can be salvaged. Luckily I took notes…
First off, MTV has signed a deal with Warner Music to use the latters music videos in original programming MTV plans to produce for mobile phones…”Effective immediately across the globe, the agreement allows MTV Networks (MTVN) to create and distribute new short-form video content for mobile devices that contains audiovisual excerpts from Warner Music Group’s music video catalog of emerging stars and legendary artists, including Sean Paul, Twista, Green Day and Big & Rich.” This makes sense for Warner, which sees it as a good promotional opportunity — much like music videos were first viewed when they were given to MTV. The new programming will include “Spotlight” — “an original mobile video package franchise launching this Fall within international mobile television and on-demand video services. The video packages will feature specific artists reflecting on their careers, their music and upcoming activities. The first packages will feature Warner Music artists, including Sean Paul,Daniel Powter and David Gray”. Despite questions about it Toffler did not elaborate very much on what MTV plans to do with the content, but he said people did not want to watch longer video shows today. “It will get to that but the audience does not want to consume content that way, they want it short and simple.” However, based on the Asian mobile TV experience he expects consumers to watch longer shows of 20-30 minutes relatively soon.
In contrast to Sony BMG’s Hesse Toffler does not expect mobile phones to replace MP3 players. “Cellphones will to some extent replace some of the MP3 players…I don’t think it will replace the iPod-style devices which hold 3,000 songs, for the music enthusiast”.
Other things from the speech:
–It works where there is a seamless integratoin between the two screens. Companies need to tap into the rythm of how people multitask — they watch TV, use their mobiles, instant messaging, using the web, listening to music, all at the same time.
–One of the shows MTV is working on is a show of animals having grisly accidents. “It’s what the audience wants,” said Toffler in response to a horrified look from his interviewer. I not sure whether he’s talking about Happy Tree Friends or a knock-off of the show.
–In terms of the pay model Toffler things there will be both a la carte and subscription models, but hasn’t worked out what the model should be yet. However, “we have a lot of information about what the consumer is not going to pay”.
–Finally, someone asked the MVNO question. “We’ve thought about it, and we have a deal with Virgin who is an MVNO, and right now we’re not going to do one but we’re thinking about it for the future.” In other words, they don’t think it would be a good idea but at the slightest indication they’re wrong they’ll jump in with both feet.
Our CTIA/MES coverage is sponsored by Motricity: Booth 717.