MTV: We're Multiplatform Too

Upfront Event Set for May 8 to Include On-Air, Online

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NEW YORK ( -- NBC Universal and CBS aren't the only media companies using this year's upfront to highlight company-wide sales opportunities. MTV Networks will host an upfront event May 8 in New York at the Nokia Theater in Times Square to focus on multiplatform opportunities across all of MTVN's on-air and online properties, including MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, TV Land, Spike and CMT. The hour-long event will be the culmination of a series of branded road shows the individual networks will be taking to advertisers across the country over the next six weeks.
MTVN chairman-CEO Judy McGrath
MTVN chairman-CEO Judy McGrath Credit: Scott Gries

"We hold a unique position in the marketplace, with connections to nearly every demo on every screen, and we really want to bring that to life for our partners," Judy McGrath, MTVN chairman-CEO, said in a statement. "We've worked hard and smart in developing solutions that really engage both clients and consumers, and this is an opportunity to lift the curtain to spotlight new and innovative work."

Commitment to innovation
Hank Close, MTVN's president-U.S. ad sales, added, "Our commitment to partnership and innovation is stronger than ever and this event will drive home the concept of return on innovation. From new programming to new ad models, platforms and technologies, this will be a unique hour."

MTVN first changed its approach to the upfront presentation last year with its initial round of branded road shows. The event for MTV, the only MTVN upfront open to press last year, was notably more intimate than the splashy celebrities-and-concert affairs the network used to host at venues like Madison Square Garden.

Meanwhile, at Viacom sibling network Nickelodeon, the bells-and-whistles approach to the upfront continued earlier this month with a big event at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom.

Will history repeat itself?
And if upfront history repeats itself, MTV could also have a significant amount of its inventory sold by the time May 8 rolls around. In recent years, the network has done major pre-upfront deals with OMD; the last one, in 2006, comprised some 30 clients and was valued at around $300 million.

Such a deal was trickier to execute last year due to the commercial ratings conversion, which delayed virtually all major TV deals by an extra week or two. Mr. Close was the last of the network sales heads to hold out for the old metric of program ratings to allow time for MTV and VH1 in particular to increase their commercial retention index through experimental ad models like pod busters and branded entertainment.

Yet integrated deals between MTV and OMD remain ongoing. In late February, the two partnered on an integrated product launch for Doritos' Spicy & Sweet Chili Chips, using MTV as the only medium to promote the product through a microsite and a branded-entertainment miniseries to air next month.
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