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The Brand Council case studies: MTV

Originally published in 'Cool BrandLeaders', August 2002. The book reviews the UK's strongest cool brands as judged by the independent Brand Council judges.

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Case study provided by The Brand Council.

From the moment The Buggles' 'Video Killed the Radio Star' launched MTV, music's coolest television channel, a hip musical revolution was born.That moment was August 1st 1981. Just six months later, the channel had over two million US subscribers -- attracted not only by the music but also by the strikingly glossy and trendy presenters. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the first MTV Video Music Awards were aired, Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video was premiered, Live Aid was broadcast to the US public and some incredible prizes, including a tropical island, Madonna's gold conical Jean Paul Gaultier bra and Billy Idol's Harley Davidson, were won by viewers. By 1991, the channel was available in 27 countries.

Following the success of MTV in the US, MTV Europe launched on August 1st 1987 in Amsterdam; the first video shown was 'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits, which included the infamous line, 'I want my MTV'. The channel's first birthday was celebrated with 3.5 million subscribers and spread to Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece and Norway. By the end of the year, it was available in 6.7 million homes.

In 1994 the MTV Europe Music Awards were born and broadcast live from Berlin.These awards have now become the most watched music awards ceremony in the world with an audience of over one billion. The Europe Music Awards delivered MTV's highest ever rating in the UK in 2001, and had more than two million people voting on the website and via the MTV Interactive service.

The need for localised territory feeds saw the launch of MTV UK & Ireland in 1997. launched and is now the biggest music website in the UK. Working at the cutting edge of technology to deliver music more innovatively, MTV UK has maintained its pole position through pioneering programmes such as Videoclash, an interactive show that combines live TV with mobile phone texting. Its interactive marketing campaign was a finalist for Media Week's Best Interactive Campaign Award in 2001 and in the Campaign Media Awards for Best Use of New Media for Consumers. MTV's events also reflect its passion for pop as well as other music styles. Its Five Night Stand, which took place early in 2002, gave viewers the chance to see bands as diverse as Blue and Super Furry Animals in intimate venues over five nights.

MTV Networks UK now has seven channels covering a huge spectrum of music genres: MTV, MTV Hits, MTV Dance, MTV Base, MTV2, VH1 and VH1 Classic.

MTV is supported by many major recording artists, who use it as a means of communication. Michael Jackson chose MTV to make his comeback at the Video Music Awards 2001, Eminem's first interview in the UK was on MTV, and Madonna announced her first European tour in eight years on the channel.

Offering its audience programmes that embrace popular culture, MTV is currently available in 92 million homes across Europe and a massive 340 million worldwide (spanning 140 countries). There's not a shred of doubt: MTV brings music to the masses.

©2002 Superbrands Ltd

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