MTV Case Analysis

MTV is part of a broadcasting industry that is hugely technology driven and capital intensive by nature. Since MTV was planning on going global, they had to be susceptible to the different regulations in each operating country and take on the local competition that was characteristic about the broadcasting industry. In recent times, companies operating in the broadcasting industry had to face stiff competition from internet sites like Youtube and MySpace etc. Started as a music station for the aging baby boomers of the USA, MTV has become a global brand spread over 140 countries and reaches 321 million households.

MTV, originally Music Television, is an American cable television channel based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs. Today, MTV primarily broadcasts a variety of reality and scripted television programs targeted at adolescents and young adults. MTV has its majority viewership outside the USA now, though their initial launch got off to a weak start. They felt a single feed across Europe would be enough as the Europeans would be more than happy to see a bit of American TV.

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This strategy tanked big time and MTV had to come out with regional feeds. They have followed this strategy ever since globally, even in China, India, Japan, Korea etc. The major threats faced by MTV at that time were increasing competition from local stations, dwindling ad revenues, increasing number of copycats and even issues like censorship etc. The main change drivers for MTV to revisit their global strategy were that viewers preferred local tastes than the American stuff that was being showed. Local copycat music stations that focused on the music scene of each individual country were taking away their viewers.

This made MTV go in for regional feeds. MTV had creative control over these feeds, and made sure the feel of the MTV in the United States was maintained but the content was local. MTV made sure that company culture and operating principles remained same wherever they were operating. The main management issue that the top management had to face were to decide on the levels of standardization vs the levels of adaptation that the company had to follow in each individual company. MTV had to keep the company culture intact, even while making sure the viewer content is to the local taste.

The mix of programming that originates in the United States and in the individual country had to be carefully assigned. With the implementation of this strategy, the management of MTV was able to solve another issue that was troubling them- capturing the viewers from the local imitators. An additional benefit thanks to the implementation of the localization strategy was that the revenue from advertisements has drastically improved, especially in key markets like India and Europe, which would further improve their position in these countries.

From what MTV has seen in Europe, India, China, Japan, Korea etc. t is pretty evident that similar trends are there to be taken in other places of the world. It is up to the top management of MTV and its parent company Viacom to seize the opportunity in the other countries, apart from the 140 in which it is already operating in. Since the strategy that is being used currently is highly successful for the company, I believe they should continue to make use of the same strategy, where they “first get inside the heads” of the local population, and match their tastes and thereby proceed to capture the market share slowly.

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