MTV – Cable and Satellite Television Channel

MTV can be defined as “a cable and satellite television channel which broadcasts popular music and promotional music videos. ” (oxforddictionaries. com. n. d. ). Launched on August 1st 1981, MTV’s programme started out by helping musicians gain exposure through music videos. This helped TV audiences connect with music by new means. As MTV became more recognised, the network branched out by creating new means of entertainment.

MTV has remained relevant by continuously adapting throughout its existence to meet their audience’s entertainment requirements. (International MTV and Globalisation). Originally MTV concentrated on rock music and played classical artists such as the ‘Police’. The television channel helped Black emerging artists such as ‘Michael Jackson’ to establish them within the music industry. As MTV increased in popularity, MTV started airing non-video programmes aimed at teenagers and young adults.

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These programmes consisted of reality TV series such as ‘My Super Sweet 16’ and animated series containing shows like ‘Celebrity Death-match’, as well as documentaries, game shows and public service campaigns. MTV derived a show; ‘MTV Music Awards’ as an alternative to the existing show, ‘The Grammys’ in order to provide for their target market. MTV also broadcast live performances from global gigs making it a popular channel amongst acoustic performers. MTV earned their creditability when they were established through launching new artists.

The internet gave rise to a convenient means of accessing music videos and therefore MTV could no longer centre themselves on music videos and consequently needed to change their content. If MTV only played music videos presently, they would be able to play only commercial music as their audience’s tastes shape MTV’s programming. This would become boring and lead to repetition which would disinterest MTV audiences, losing a great number of their target audience. (MTV, 2013). Throughout the history of MTV, a variety of entertainment programmes were aired to suit the audience and time era.

MTV responded to the demands of their market which has helped them advance and be in the position they are in today. Today, MTV posts networks in over 30 languages in over 130 countries which points out its successfulness in catering for their audience. MTV has succeeded in becoming an undeniable influence, not only in their music but in popular culture as well. (MTV, 2013). Popular culture can be defined as “The knowledge of current or up-to-date events. It can refer to music, television, film, sports, and anything in the public domain. (reference. com. n. d. ).

MTV operates globally and one may argue that MTV shapes their audience tastes however in present times the public has vast options and therefore can easily dictate by choosing the channel that best suits their tastes and wants. MTV’s power to adapt to change has worked to their advantage as they have been able to capture their target audience throughout their existence. MTV was first to establish principles of popular culture. MTV became an iconic presence in popular culture, inspiring visual media culture.

Over the years, MTV has played a major role on popular culture on a global scale. MTV has advanced in becoming a leading style of popular culture for younger generations. MTV and its culture has spread world-wide resulting in MTV’s expansion into different channels and countries such as MTV China, MTV Canada, MTV India, etc. however, all the channels belong to one mass media source: MTV. MTV’s successfulness is due to the constant changing and shaping of its programmes to suit their target market. (MTV, the medium was the message, 2005).

MTV Europe began in Germany in 1989. The network introduced itself through an MTV styled documentation of the Berlin wall collapsing incorporated with music and Berlin’s youth waving the MTV flags. MTV was convinced they had made a connection with the German youth by involving aspects of their lives that were most important. However MTV failed to notice that their content was not specialized for a German market. A language barrier of English to Germans made MTV’s music and reality TV series not understandable to the German youth, therefore MTV had no popularity.

MTV also had competition with existing German music channels which forced them to dedicate a channel purely to Germany. MTV grew to reach audiences of around 2. 7 million. MTV international has approached each market differently as the network has learnt that each market requires a different approach. MTV drastically changes music and advertising industries within their international and local markets. (MTV- Popular culture and international phenomenon, 2011). As a form of culture for younger generations, MTV serves as a source for social behaviour.

MTV’s audience, being between 16 and 20 years old, are exposed to social norms and trends found in the Reality TV series that MTV air on most of their channels. This exposure results in the viewer wants to behave and act like the reality stars. This presents trends of a fake and constructed reality which is shaping our future. The consequences of globalization are noticed in today’s society with progression of companies such as MTV, and its increasing mass audience. In a fast-paced, commercially driven society which MTV possesses, the entertainment world requires to be a step ahead of the public.

MTV encourages individualistic thinking and acting whilst enjoying their youth years. MTV speaks directly to the youth and has therefore created a global community based on the interests of young adults all around the world. MTV must acknowledge all aspects of the youth’s culture in order to reach the largest percentage of teenagers, ensuring their success continues.


  1. International MTV and Globalisation. Available at: http://www. charisselpree. com/research/MIT-CMS/mtv/international-mtv-and-globalization
  2. Reference. com.  Available at: http://www. nswers. reference. com/information/terminology/what_is_the_definition_of_pop_culture

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MTV – Cable and Satellite Television Channel. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from