February 25, 2015
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is targeting millennials in Germany, Switzerland and Romania with a kind of ‘mobile first’ strategy that makes MTV video content available on smartphones that can then ‘cast’ the programming to other multiscreen devices including Smart TVs and tablets. The company believes this approach will appeal to consumers who do not take Pay TV and will therefore complement the existing TV distribution partnerships that get MTV on-demand programming onto televisions via set-top boxes. It also provides mobile operators with a way to make their services more attractive to teenagers and young adults and encourage loyalty.
Viacom is using Mobile World Congress to unveil its new video offer, called MTV Play. The service will debut with mobile network partners on March 5 and consumers will be able to enjoy the app free with ‘MTV Mobile’ branded tariffs or pay EURO 2.99 a month or EUR 29.99 per annum for the content. Other market launches could follow later. MTV Play provides access to over 1,500 hours of video. There will also be preview episodes of new series like ‘Catfish’ before they are seen on linear television.
Viacom says millennials are the biggest consumers of OTT content and services via mobile. According to its own research, 41% of 16-24 year-olds regularly watch TV shows on a smartphone. MTV is one of the hottest entertainment brands in the minds of these millennials, the company claims. Furthermore, the majority of online engagement with the MTV brand now comes through mobile devices.
“Mobiles are the device that they take everywhere with them,” Oliver Nitz, SVP Mobile Brand Licensing International at Viacom, points out, referring to the 16-24 age group. “By launching MTV Play as a mobile app, with the ability to share content across other devices, we are making it possible for our target audience to consume MTV content how and where they want to.”
Viacom has partnered with Vigour, which provides multiscreen and cross-screen user experience solutions, to give consumers the power to wirelessly ‘flick’ MTV video from their smartphone to other connected screens. The application is compatible with all common operating systems. “For mobile network operators looking to diversify, MTV Play allows them to move into multiplatform solutions whilst maintaining mobile as the central hub for their services,” Viacom, whose other brands include Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, points out.
The media company adds: “The app delivers a unique proposition for operators, raising their brand profile as the network choice for the millennial demographic. We have a new generation of brand licensing agreements designed to help mobile network operators add value to their entertainment offerings.”
Bob Bakish, President and CEO of VIMN, adds: “There is an enormous opportunity for [mobile] operators to differentiate themselves and reward consumer loyalty by offering greater value through premium branded content and services, targeting young customers who are not currently subscribing to Pay TV.”
Viacom is also unveiling a new MTV subscription audio streaming service during Mobile World Congress, called MTV Trax. This targets the same demographic, where many consumers use mobile handsets as their preferred music listening device, and is aimed at users who baulk at the price of ‘all you can eat’ streaming services. MTV curates the content and makes 100 popular tracks available, downloaded to the phone and updated daily. You can listen to the tracks offline. This service has been launched in partnership with MusicQubed, a premium music service that combines push technology, user experience, licensing and brand partnerships.
MTV Trax is being launched as a direct-to-consumer subscription service in the UK on March 3, available through the App Store, Google Play or Windows Phone Store, following a successful trial. Later this year it will launch in New Zealand but in this case it will be offered via a leading mobile network operator. Pricing of the MTV Trax subscriptions has not been announced.