Blog Post

MTV Buys Remaining Stake Of Social Net Aggregator Flux

imageMTV Networks has acquired Social Project Inc., the company that runs social media aggregator Flux.com, which has been working with the Viacom unit to build up community tools around its sites over the past two years. Terms weren’t disclosed. The announcement was made at a press conference at MTVN’s offices by Mika Salmi, president, global digital media for MTVN (NYSE: VIA). MTVN first invested in Tagworld, which became Social Project, in November 2006. Flux now has 7.6 million, with 2 million adding since opening up its platform last fall. Release (More details from the press conference after the jump)

— In a demonstration given by MTVN’s Josh Dern, who in conjunction with the the acquisition news has been upped to SVP/GM of social media from VP of the network’s social media strategy, the network showed how properties like Comedy Central’s ColbertNation fan site can be used to promote aspects of the show among Flux members.

Getting for mobile: One of the big things is moving from online to other platforms, such as mobile and set-top boxes. I spoke with Dern afterward, and he noted that mobile plans are a ways off for Flux and MTVN’s sites. “We want to get the general online side right first, but we do recognize the importance of mobile in other markets we operate in, such as Asia. But that doesn’t mean we want to rush it.” Dern also stressed the “open nature” of Flux, saying that it will still open to other websites and not limited to working with Viacom properties. As for sites within the MTVN family, about 35 sites use the Flux platform right now (in total, the company publishes upwards of 250). Flux will mainly concentrate on the big name MTVN brands that target demos over 13-years-old — meaning that Nickelodeon will have to wait to use it. As for the rest, Dern said that he expects that by the end of next year, about 90 percent of the over-13 sites will use Flux in some way.

Getting tribal: On the ad side, Nada Stirratt, EVP, digital advertising at MTVN, compares the Flux model to the recently unveiled Tribes, an online ad network tied to its MTVN’s cable channels. “Think of Tribes as vertical niche publishers, singularly focused on a particular content topic. Take MTV Generation Tribe that we rolled out last week. What Tribes does is add a community function to these sites that are so small, they wouldn’t have a set of social net capabilites. So you have someone [in Tribes] already in the discovery mindset. Flux gives them more tools. That’s how the two are complementary.” An MTVN rep said that there are more than 100 publishers across the five active Tribes networks.