It’s only a few years ago that MTV was THE network of choice for young people, but the times have changed. MTV is struggling with declining viewership and thus advertising revenues. They’re going through a downsizing now and have to curb their budget big time. How the mighty have fallen…
MTV got stuck. It’s as simple as that. They had a good thing going—though morally debatable—with shows like Jersey Shore and Jackass. or even further back, with The Real World. And then people got tired of semi-reality shows with young people leading the way.
But the biggest issue was that MTV never embraced a digital strategy. Music videos are going straight to YouTube now, so nobody needs MTV to watch them. They’re fulfilling a need that’s no longer there.
Plus we’re in the age of Netflix now where people don’t watch shows on their TV anymore. Nor do they want to wait till they’re broadcasted at an appointed day and time. They want to watch them online, from whatever device is handy, at a time they deem convenient. And MTV missed that boat with a fuzzy digital strategy that lead to much confusion on which shows could be accessed online. HBO’s step to (finally!) launch their own streaming service may have come just in time to save them, but MTV better get with the program fast as well.
So what can we learn from MTV’s rise and fall?
Don’t get stuck in old methods, fulfilling needs that are no longer there. Stay ahead of developments and anticipate needs. Even better: create needs by changing the game, like Netflix did by producing their own shows and releasing them at once. That’s how you stay relevant.