"Social networking" is certainly the buzz phrase these days, isn't it? And the undeniable icon of the whole movement is News Corp.'s
According to a Reuters article, MTV wants to use social networking as the basis for a new channel christened Flux. Like YouTube, Flux viewers will have the ability to send the channel their sundry homemade video clips. In addition, viewers will be able to post messages, display representational avatars, and select content. The channel, which will work in conjunction with its website, will debut in early September in the United Kingdom.
Viacom obviously feels that it must answer News Corp.'s MySpace juggernaut. That may be, but the Flux concept is a perfect fit for the MTV division. When you think about it, the idea of youthful demos using the latest in digital video technology to program a channel is nothing more than an evolution of what is found on MTV now. Granted, this might be a bit of a stretch, but consider shows like The Real World, Next, Made, and especially, for this discussion, Jackass -- they're all basically a platform for amateurs cast directly from the viewing pool, right? Well, a clip of college-aged individuals performing goofball antics on Flux or YouTube is sort of the same thing. Put a bunch of these clips together, and you've got yourself content.
Again, that might be stretching things a bit, since the stuff you see on YouTube is not exactly reflective of high production values. Still, the essential point is that MTV has the ability to use its brand to promote popular programming that is cheap and not dependent on big stars. I believe that Flux, if it catches on in the U.K. and is eventually launched in the States, will be valuable to MTV, even beyond whatever advertising model they've designed for it. The synergy potential for Paramount is surely foremost in the minds of Viacom's powers that be -- after all, if MySpace is being used to market music and films, then Flux will surely be used in that capacity as well.
Let's not forget that synergy can work for MTV as well. Without a doubt, popular items that pop up on Flux will find their way over to MTV, VH1, etc. It's already happening. Remember Viacom's acquisition of iFilm? It didn't take the media conglomerate long to program a show derived from iFilm's viral clips; it's called Web Junk 20, and it features the funniest shorts to be found on that site (I have to admit, I've wasted some of my own time laughing along with that show).
Media concerns like Time Warner
Check out some further Foolishness:
- Social Networking Keeps It Reel
- MySpace's Safety Dance
- Is Facebook Worth $2 Billion?
- MTV's not new to Internet strategies -- it also owns NeoPets.
Time Warner and Disney are recommendations of Motley Fool Stock Advisor , where Tom and David Gardner are always on the lookout for the market's best investments. Try it out for yourself -- it's free for 30 days .