MTV is a cable television network headquartered in New York City. Originally devoted to music videos, especially popular music videos, MTV has since opted to show less music oriented programming, and has became an outlet for a variety of different television shows aimed at adolescents and young adults.


Broadcast began on August 1, 1981 as an operation of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment Company, a joint venture of Warner Communications and American Express known as WASEC.


In 1984, Warner and Amex attempted to take some cash out of their WASEC investment. The companies divested WASEC and it was renamed MTV Networks Inc. The parent companies registered for a stock IPO, which eventually went public at $15.00 per share. A year later, MTV saw the introduction of a sister channel, VH-1, short for Video Hits One. In 1986, MTV Networks Inc. was acquired by Viacom Inc., and was renamed MTV Networks, still a division of Viacom today. By 1987, Viacom itself was the target of a successful hostile takeover by National Amusements.







MTV was created in 1977, when Warner-Amex Cable (a joint venture between Warner Communications and American Express) launched the first two-way interactive cable TV system, Qube, in Columbus, Ohio. The Qube system offered many specialized channels, including a children's channel called Pinwheel which would later become Nickelodeon. One of these specialized channels was Sight On Sound, a music channel that featured concert footage and music oriented TV programs; with the interactive Qube service, viewers could vote for their favorite songs and artists.


On August 1, 1981, MTV: Music Television launched with a programming format created by the visionary music producer, Bob Pittman (who later became president and chief executive officer, of MTV Networks [1]).


A previous venture, a TV series under the name PopClips, was created by Pittman and former Monkee-turned solo artist Michael Nesmith, the latter of whom by the late 1970's was turning his attention to the music video format. A disagreement between Nesmith and Pittman over the show's direction led Nesmith to relinquish control to Pittman soon after. [2]


The channel went to air at 12:01 am with the words (by original COO John Lack) "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll!" and the original MTV theme song, a crunching guitar riff created by Jonathan Elias, playing over a montage of the Apollo 11 moon landing (MTV producers used this footage because it was in the public domain.) At the time of launch, only a few thousand people on one cable system in northern New Jersey could see it. Sporadically, the screen would go black when someone at MTV inserted a tape into a VCR. [3] Appropriately, the first music video shown on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. The second video shown was Pat Benatar's "You Better Run". With similar tongue-in-cheek humor, the first video shown on MTV Europe was "Money for Nothing," by Dire Straits, which starts and finishes with repetition of the line "I want my MTV," voiced by Sting. On MTV Latino, the first video shown was "We Are Southamerican Rockers" by the Chilean band Los Prisioneros.


The early format of the network was modeled after Top 40 radio. Fresh-faced young men and women were hired to host the show's programming, and to introduce videos that were being played. The term VJ (video jockey) was coined, a play on the acronym DJ (disc jockey.) Many VJs eventually became celebrities in their own right. The original five MTV VJs in 1981 were Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn. In 2005, this group (except for J.J. Jackson, who had died in 2004) was reunited as hosts on Sirius Satellite Radio. Promotional spots featured animated MTV logos created by numerous animation studios, including work by such artists as Steve Fiorilla and Ken Brown.


The early music videos that made up the bulk of the network's programming in the '80s were often crude promotional or concert clips from whatever sources could be found; as the popularity of the network rose, and record companies recognized the potential of the medium as a tool to gain recognition and publicity, they began to create increasingly elaborate clips specifically for the network. Several noted film directors got their start creating music videos, including Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, and David Fincher.


A large number of rock bands and performers of the 1980s and 1990s were made into household names by MTV. 1980s acts immediately identifiable with MTV include Van Halen, The Police, The Cars, Eurythmics, RATT, Culture Club, Def Leppard, Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, and "Weird Al" Yankovic, who made a career out of parodying other artists videos. Many of the more successful musicians featured on MTV could frequently be seen doing station identification spots for the network, exclaiming the signature line, "I want my MTV!!" The heavy rock band KISS publicly appeared without their trademark makeup for the first time on MTV in 1983. Michael Jackson launched the second wave of his career as an MTV staple. Madonna rose to fame on MTV in the 1980s. Madonna is the most successful video performer in MTV history, and to this day she uses MTV to market her music.


In 1984 the network produced its first MTV Video Music Awards show. Seen as a fit of self-indulgence by a fledgling network at the time, the "VMAs" developed into a music-industry showcase marketed as a hip antidote to the Grammy awards. In 1992, the network would add a movie award show with similar success.


After MTV's programming shifted towards heavy metal and rap music, MTV Networks launched a second network, Video Hits 1 (VH-1), in 1985. VH1 featured more popular music than MTV. Today, MTV Networks also owns Nickelodeon, a cable channel airing children's and family programming.


MTV started off showing music videos nearly full-time, but as time passed they introduced a variety of other shows. Many of these shows were originally intended for such channels such as the Disney Channel, Discovery Channel, Spike, and Fox Reality. The new genres include animated cartoons such as Beavis and Butt-head and Daria; reality shows such as The Real World and Road Rules; prank/comedic shows such as The Tom Green Show, Jackass, and Punk'd; and soap operas such as Undressed. By the second half of the 1990s, MTV programming consisted primarily of non-music programming. In 2000, MTV's Fear became the first 'scary' reality show where contestants filmed themselves. The show ran for three seasons and spawned numerous imitations, including the currently running Fear Factor on NBC. In 2002, MTV aired the first episode of another reality show, The Osbournes, based on the everyday life of former, Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, his wife Sharon, and two of their children, Jack and Kelly. The show went on to become one of the network's biggest ever success stories and kick-started a musical career for Kelly Osbourne, while Sharon Osbourne went on to host a talk show on U.S. television. In 2003, Newlyweds, another popular reality TV show that follows the lives of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, a music celebrity couple, began airing. It ran for three seasons and was ended after Jessica and Nick divorced. The success of Newlyweds was followed in June 2004 by The Ashlee Simpson Show, which documented the beginnings of the music career of Ashlee Simpson, Jessica Simpson's younger sister. In the fall of 2004, Ozzy Osbourne's reality show Battle for Ozzfest aired.


In 2004, MTV's parent company Viacom bought Germany's largest provider for music television Viva Media AG, thereby creating the largest company for music on the European mainland. In November 2004, MTV announced it would begin airing MTV Base in Africa from February 2005, [4] thereby reaching the world's last major populated area previously not served by MTV.


In 2006, MTV plans to launch MTV Ukraine, to pursue the emerging music market. There are also plans to launch services in the Baltic states with MTV Estonia, MTV Latvia and MTV Lithuania. There are also plans to launch a Turkish service, MTV Türkiye around this time.


In June 2006, MTV announced the creation of MTV K, the first music and pop-culture destination for young Korean-Americans. The channel will import the hottest and latest superstars from Korea, artists like BoA, Rain, and Se7en and will introduce new and emerging Korean-American artists making noise of their own. This will provide a chance for Korean and Korean-American artists alike to gain U.S. exposure.


On August 1, 2006, MTV celebrated its 25th anniversary. On their broadband video channel, MTV Overdrive, MTV executives let people view the very first hour of MTV, including airing the original promos and commercials from Mountain Dew, Atari, Chewels gum, and Jovan. Videos were also shown from The Buggles, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, and more, and even the introduction of the first five original VJs (Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, and Mark Goodson. Also put together a "yearbook" consisting of the best videos of each year from the early age of MTV of 1981 to the current videos of 2006.





The advent of digital satellite and cable has brought greater channel diversity including channels such as MTV2, which features the slogan "Where The Music's At." In the U.S., MTV2 initially focused on playing music videos and other music-related programming exclusively; in Europe, MTV2 plays specific genres of music (mainly alternative and rock). Viacom, parent company of the MTV Networks, is also behind VH1, which is aimed at celebrity and popular culture programming; and CMT, which targets the country music market. Robert Bartz is CEO of MTV enterprises. MTV recently broadcast a University-oriented channel mtvU.



MHD — Music: High Definition is a high definition channel that MTV Networks launched on January 16, 2006. Originating from a studio in Vail, Colorado, MHD features programming from all three music-themed channels owned by MTV Networks — MTV, VH1 and CMT. Thusfar, only Verizon's FiOS TV , Comcast, and Cox Cable have agreed to carry the channel. Cox systems carrying MHD as of March 2006 include Atlanta, New Orleans, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Phoenix with Boston getting MHD through Comcast. In June 2006, Cox began carrying MHD in the Fairfax market. Mitsubishi Electric Digital Televisions ( is the exclusive sponsor of MHD., the website of the channel, expands on its broadcasts by bringing additional content to its viewers. Its notable features include its podcasts, including MTV News RAW, which interviews various musical artists; MTV Overdrive, a video steaming service supported by commercials. Additionally there are movie features, profiles and interviews with recording artists and even clips from MTV television programs.



MTV World


MTV World launched a series of channels for Asian Americans. The first channel was MTV Desi, in July of 2005 dedicated towards South Asian American. Next up was MTV Chi in December of 2005 which catered to Chinese Americans. The third installment is MTV K for Korean Americans which was launched on June 27, 2006. Each of these channels feature music videos and shows from MTV's international affiliates as well as original programming, promos and packaging designed in the U.S.



International divisions


MTV Networks and Viacom have launched numerous native-language MTV-branded music channels to countries worldwide.


These channels include (but are not limited to): MTV Canada, formerly talktv; MTV UK; MTV Ireland; MTV Spain; MTV France; MTV Germany; MTV Europe; MTV Portugal; MTV Adria; MTV Denmark; MTV Finland; MTV Italy; MTV Netherlands; MTV Norway; MTV Poland; MTV Romania; MTV Baltics; MTV Sweden; MTV Asia; MTV Japan; MTV China; MTV Korea; MTV Philippines; MTV Taiwan/Hong Kong; MTV Pakistan; MTV India; MTV Latin America;MTV Puerto Rico; MTV Brasil; MTV Australia; MTV New Zealand and MTV Russia.





Racial discrimination


In its early years, MTV was criticized for being discriminatory, since the acts it featured were nearly exclusively white. MTV executives countered by claiming that there were few—if any—promotional videos available from black and other minority acts, although artists such as Diana Ross and The Jacksons had been making music videos before MTV existed.


Some critics from 1981 to 1985 complained that the channel frequently aired videos by Hall & Oates - a white act with Motown and Philly soul influences, and heavy airplay on black radio—but not the black artists with whom they shared the R&B and dance charts.


Shortly thereafter, the network began heavily featuring videos from Michael Jackson's album Thriller, in particular "Billie Jean" and "Thriller", and Prince's album 1999, in particular the videos for the title track and "Little Red Corvette". Later, sister channel VH1 (introduced in 1985) would specialize in heavy rotation of black acts as part of its format.


Subsequently, MTV delved heavily into black musical acts, developing several hip-hop music-themed programs such as Yo! MTV Raps, and got rid of MTV X to make room for MTV Jams, in part because many young African Americans would rather watch BET than MTV.


In 2006, fans of R&B singer Janet Jackson started a petition against MTV for blacklisting the video for her single "Call on Me". It was reported that the channel refused to play the video due to continued disagreements between themselves and Jackson over the 2004 Super Bowl incident.





Because of its visibility as a promotional tool for the recording industry, MTV has been criticized as overly commercial and accused of denigrating the importance of music in the music industry (replacing it with a purely visual aesthetic); putting equally popular but less image-centric or single-based acts at a distinct disadvantage. As early as 1985, some musicians were criticizing MTV for these reasons, perhaps most famously Dead Kennedys with the song "MTV − Get off the Air" in the album Frankenchrist.



Airtime for music videos


Recently, MTV have put a stronger focus on reality shows such as Road Rules, The Real World, Laguna Beach, and others as well. The primary U.S. MTV channel does occasionally play music videos (albeit rarely) instead of exclusively relegating them to their genre channels.


Critics also claim that bands sell well because they get a lot of exposure on MTV, rather than MTV picking the best bands to promote; and that MTV has too much influence in the music industry. Although it could be argued that MTV is simply giving airtime to the most popular acts in a given country, the counter-argument could also be made that these acts get popular simply because of the exposure that MTV gives them.



Moral influence


There have been some critics who have said that MTV promotes bad behavior (mainly premarital sex, violence, and recreational drug use) to the youth of America by embracing the behaviors of certain celebrities who are not good role models. Critics have said that MTV was like "pornography for children."[5]


Since the early 1990's, MTV began to edit and rewrite its' programs on moral behaviors to influence their audience. Characters, for example, must not exhibit underage drinking, to promote regular school attendance, to support environmental issues, and on "coolness" on being "socially responsible" for youth to take part in volunteer work in their community.


There are also critics of MTV and their reality shows such as NEXT, the game dating show that involves making the daters complete various tasks and games to avoid being "Nexted" on the basis of looks. In the summer of 2005, MTV has began to examine their programming on the depiction of women, after women's rights groups criticized MTV was allowing misogyny in images and music videos.


The channel also faced criticism in the wake of the Super Bowl XXXVIII half time show — which it had produced. This infamous halftime show featured the partial exposure of one of Janet Jackson's breasts, which was shown on live television. Afterwards the NFL indicated that MTV would not produce any further Super Bowl halftime shows, or any public event.



Politics and censorship


MTV has also come under criticism for being far too politically correct and sensitive when it came to censorship. This was most prevalent in the eventual decline of the hit show Jackass. The creators of Jackass often felt that MTV's producers did not let the show run its free course due to the excessive restraints placed on the Jackass team. MTV's influence also affected its famous animated program, Beavis and Butt-Head. In the wake of controversy that followed a child burning down his house after allegedly watching the show, producers moved the show from its original 7 PM time slot to a late-night, 11 PM slot. Also, Beavis was no longer shown flicking a lighter and screaming the word "fire" in subsequent episodes.


MTV has also heavily edited a number of music videos to remove references to drugs, sex, or weapons. Edits include, but are not limited to:

Music Videos


Before 1987, MTV featured almost exclusively music videos. Non-music video programming began in the late '80s with the introduction of "The Week in Rock," "Club MTV" and "Remote Control."



Political influence


After so many shots to the network about the content of programmes, MTV started airing a plethora of political and economic shows. These shows included: "think MTV," which discusses current political issues such as gay marriage, the 2004 U.S. presidential election, and war in other countries, among other topics. The slogan of the program is Reflect. Decide. Do. MTV aired a popular band's Sum 41 trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, documenting the conflict there. The group ended up being caught in the midst of an attack outside of the hotel and were subsequently flown out of the country (Rocked: Sum 41 in Congo). In 1992 MTV started a pro-democracy campaign called "Choose Or Lose", to encourage up to 25 million people to register to vote, and hosted a town hall forum for Bill Clinton.


Other politically diverse programs include True Life, which documents people's lives and problems, and shows an epilogue of after the show was shot (True Life); MTV News Specials, which centers on very current events in both the music industry and the world; and a lot of other shows based on the current times. It covered the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, airing programs focused on the issues and opinions of young people, including a program where viewers could ask questions of Senator John Kerry on live TV (Sherman). MTV worked with P. Diddy's "Vote or Die" campaign, designed to encourage young people to vote. Allegedly, P. Diddy did not vote in the 2004 election (Vargas).


In the 1990's and early 2000s, MTV promoted annual campaigns "Fight For Your Rights" and "Speak Out/Stand Up Against Violence" to bring forth awareness on America's crime, drugs and violence issues. On April 6, 2001; the only time in MTV's history the network ceased regular programming for 24 hours as part of the year's Hate Crimes awareness campaign. On that night, MTV aired a made-for-TV movie Anatomy of a Hate Crime, based on a true story of the 1999 murder of 21-year old Matthew Shepherd, a gay college student in the town of Laramie, Wyoming.





MTV has a history of cartoons with mature themes, notably Beavis and Butt-head, and its spin-off, Daria. Few of MTV's other cartoons have been renewed for additional seasons, regardless of their reception.




  • "You'll never look at music the same way again" (The first slogan; appeared on the original blue MTV shirt.)

  • "I want my MTV!" (Originally intended as a promotional tool encouraging subscribers to ask their cable providers to add the MTV network; later became the iconic slogan for MTV for more than a decade.)

  • "Yo thats some totallybullshityo!!" The Tooth.

  • "Too much is never enough"

  • "Turn it on, leave it on"

  • "See the music you want to see"

  • "MTV... Proud as a Moon Man" ("Weird Al" Yankovic's spoof of NBC's 1979-1981 slogan Proud as a Peacock)

  • "MTV Lives In Your Music"

  • "Some People Just Don't Get It"

  • "Watch and Learn"

  • "M-m-m-m T-t-t-t V-v-v-v"

  • "MTV News: You Hear it First"

  • "MT-blah: Blah-blah Tele-blah"

  • "I love my MTV"

  • "The Number One Music Channel" (slogan used for MTV UK from 2000 to 2002. As the channel broadcasts on digital cable and satellite, the slogan was discontinued in 2003. The decline in music related programming on MTV may have also played a part as to why this slogan was dropped.)

  • "I Like..." (MTV Asia)

  • "Don't let Jerry Win. Best watch your MTV's"

  • "Think"

  • "Not on TV, on M-TV"

  • "Best Watch Your MTVs"

  • "Just See MTV"

  • "MTV Enjoy"

  • "Nongkrong di MTV" (Slogan in MTV Asia for MTV Indonesia before MTV Indonesia aired (1997-2001)

  • "MTV Gue Banget"(MTV Indonesia,2001-present)

  • "MTV Ayos" (MTV Philippines)

  • "Habla Tu MTV"

  • "You Down Wit MTV?!"

  • "Musical Tele-vis-i-on" (MTV UK - The 'Music Man')

  • "There's Something in the Water!" (MTV Canada)

  • "Don't Give Up Your M"




























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