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The Deal with MTV’s First Videoblog

MTV is pretty much the granddaddy of short, informal video content, but until this week the channel had never tried posting a web show itself. Yesterday we had the chance to meet (via phone) Matt Sunbulli, an MTV News staffer who’s started the channel’s first vlog.

“The Webcam Correspondent” will be a weekly show, with an follow-up update later in the week. It is being shown on the web as well as broadcast on MTV.

Sunbulli seemed most proud of the fact that even though MTV has a major site revamp planned in two months’ time, the company allowed him to “use these social tools that are available already,” posting his video on YouTube and engaging with watchers via MySpace.

We were surprised to hear how revolutionary Sunbulli thinks his project is. “This big media company is willing to use these social networking sites that they don’t own to create traffic,” he said. “I don’t see big networks currently doing that.” (Editor’s note to Matt: Look here for such an example.)

Sunbulli said he wants to evoke the feeling of the “informal host” employed by programs such as Rocketboom, though he confided he personally finds that show’s presentation “irritating.” He said he hopes “the Webcam Correspondent” helps MTV capture some of the “indie and anti-establishment” cred it had 20 years ago.

In terms of audience reaction, Sunbulli said it was favorable, but didn’t offer any metrics. He said he was happy enough that comments and emails said “Not ‘Screw you MTV, what are you doing in our space,’ but ‘Hey MTV, that’s cool, you’re finally getting it.'”

In Sunbulli’s first show, he more or less begged people to contact him on MySpace, pointing to his total of one friend. The ploy worked; his friend count is now at 179.

4 Responses to “The Deal with MTV’s First Videoblog”

  1. The article is interesting, but the CBS thing I don’t get. The link directed you to CBS sponsored content. Mainly promos and shows. No Vlog stuff there. I think MTV news ‘dispatches’ are not a true vlog either. More of a show about Vlogs, delivered in Vlog style. I haven’t seen that yet. I suspect we’ll see more of this stuff down the road from other companies soon.

  2. Liz,

    I believe in the case you cited (CBS), they actually have some revenue payment deal sorted with YouTube/Google, so it is not merely to increase traffic.

    Of course in the independent model we are approaching with our vlogs that is not the case (yet).

  3. Hey Liz,

    Without an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosure tags, does this qualify as a vlog?

    Or is this just an MTV-sponsored informal episodic webcam series?

    There still isn’t a consensus on how we define a “vlog.”

    Wikipedia is vague about the necessity of web syndication to qualify…