New MTVN Division Combines Male-Skewing Nets And Sites

Viacom’s MTV Networks has yet another plan for integrating sites and nets, this time with the goal of making it easier for advertisers to reach young males across platforms — a sort of Spike concept on steroids. The Journal reports that Spike, Comedy Central and TV Land will be matched with male-skewing sites AtomFilms, Xfire and GameTrailers. Doug Herzog, who already oversees the three channels, will head up the division and will report directly to Judy McGrath, MTVN chairman and CEO. McGrath: “Housing these brands together … can unlock some more growth potential to serve the audience and advertisers in a 360-degree way.”
Funny she should mention 360 — one reason for the move is to better be able to compete against ESPN for that all-important young male demo. From the Journal: “Viacom estimates the three channels reach more men on average than ESPN and its offshoot cable channels.” Then again, some of ESPN’s channels have less distribution than the three Viacom nets. But the effort could fall flat with the group that really matters: media buyers. Chris Boothe, president, Publicis Groupe’s Starcom USA:”They’ve spent a lot of time developing each of those channels into independent brands. Depending on how it’s done, grouping channels together under this kind of umbrella could strike marketers as disjointed.”

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