I bet I know what the current favorite song of executives at Viacom's
OK, the above might be too pun-heavy for some, but it at least gave me the chance to bring up a cool Townshend tune. At any rate, Viacom recently announced the formation of a new business unit called MTVN Mobile Media. The purpose of this segment is to ensure that all opportunities in the mobile market are fully exploited by the company's cable brands. Whether it be Nickelodeon, VH1, or MTV, Viacom wants its content featured anywhere its potential viewers are.
As one can imagine, those who find value in the brand universe of MTV Networks are most assuredly users of mobile devices. They're consumers who check their cell phones right before entering a multiplex to catch a flick, text message friends at the mall, and play mobile games to pass the time while waiting in a queue at a busy restaurant. In other words, owners of such devices tend to fall in the valuable demographic spectrum that is desired by advertisers -- young, on-the-go persons who spend money while in transit.
And that's exactly the spectrum MTV wants to consistently reach. We've all gotten the memo by now -- content is not just for movie theaters and television sets anymore. It can be accessed by iPods, broadband video-on-demand channels, Internet streams, etc. Major studios like Disney
This is why Viacom is smart in clarifying its operational structure in terms of MTV's mobile ambitions. Viacom has an extremely precious brand in MTV to differentiate itself through all the various platforms it enters. Although MTV and all the rest already have a lot of experience with mobile-content distribution, a learning curve will always be present since new paradigms and technologies are constantly in development. Viacom is right in reimagining its corporate focus so it can capture even more experience at dealing with what works and what doesn't work in this new media age. Here's another interesting issue for Viacom -- a Financial Times article mentioned that the company will be involved in a new thing called Mobile Junk 2.0, in conjunction with Sprint. The idea behind this is to see product created by the public distributed to mobile devices -- this truly is the YouTube generation, isn't it?
Mobile content is an important avenue of future growth, especially, in my mind at least, from the promotional/synergistic implications -- i.e., if users get hooked on MTV's mobile content, they will probably be inclined to point their eyeballs toward the cable broadcasts. Now that Viacom has defined its mobile-product unit, it must keep an eye on the content it develops, keeping in mind that it must always remain hip and fresh for its sophisticated -- and, some might say, increasingly jaded -- users.
With made-for-mobile programs such as Comedy Central's Clip Joint and Sway's Hip Hop Owner's Manual, and with such innovations as the NeoPets web-to-wireless application mentioned in the release, Viacom has a good footprint with its demographic. As new advancements in this wireless world of ours are made available, Viacom will be able to turn its experience in this area into growth opportunities, so long as it can effectively promote content that is more exciting than that of the competition.
I want my MTV Takes:
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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney and General Electric. As of this writing, he was ranked 5,732 out of 17,992 investors in the CAPS system. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool has a disclosure policy.