Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An early MTV station IDImage via WikipediaThe new music video site that MTV debuted a couple of days ago has so far gotten positive reviews all around, and I can see why. It features a large library of videos that reaches deep into its archives, which should prove to be a hit both with my dad and my friends alike. Its clean homepage simply features three columns of 'Most Viewed', 'Top Rated' and 'Vintage Videos'. MTV.com's social network extends to the new site - logging in will allow you to rate or comment on the videos. Videos can also be linked to and embedded.

But what seems to be most noteworthy about this site is its explanation for the stark absence of ads - it's not setting itself up to be visited. Peter Kafka of MediaMemo reports that according to MTV.com spokesman Tom Biro, the site is meant to serve as a "sort of white-label archive" that MTV Networks and others can draw from to build other sites.

This is interesting to me - so far I haven't heard of any other website that so blatantly positions itself as a source for website material, and little else. Especially when the social features are already present and well-integrated (judging by the stream of current viewers on the homepage, quite a few new users have signed up since the site rolled out). Though odd, it also seems like a smart move at a time when major American television networks and their affiliates like Hulu.com seem to be 'getting it' and releasing more content online. Making original content available for free not only lays the foundation for MTV's future online projects, but is also great for branding. Additionally, by allowing all and sundry to use the videos as material for their own sites, MTV may generate huge viral effects in the future, especially considering that 6 of the videos in Youtube's Top 10 popular videos are professionally-produced music videos.

I sure hope that this is a sign of 'big media' getting with the times and loosening their grip on content. In the meantime, here's a video to reassure them - video didn't kill the radio star and if they give their content wings, neither will the internet kill them.

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