MTV Betting That Twitter Is The New AOL Chatroom

Apr 29th, 2009 // 5 Comments

At MTV this year, the “M” stands for “most everything old is new again”: In addition to raising the spectre of Beavis & Butt-Head in the announcement of its new slate of programming, the network will begin airing a new, as-yet-untitled show that recalls the bad old days of MTV’s intersection between videos and that newfangled Internet thing, and even has a British host to boot. Compare the press release for the new venture with a take on the AOL-plus-videos show Yack Live from the mid-’90s’ best repository for facepalming at the Internet, Suck:

The new:

· THE ALEXA CHUNG SHOW [working title]: A one-hour, daily, live entertainment show that our viewers help to create, taking viewer interaction to a new level, making them the stars of the program. Hosted by smart and witty British television personality and model Alexa Chung, the program will include celebrity guests, musical performances, and the best of the web. The Alexa Chung Show brings MTV’s always-on audience together with Twitter’s instantaneous feedback ability. In keeping with the real-time nature of the show, Twitter will enable the audience to interact with Alexa, celebrity talent, their own friends and the rest of the pop culture loving world on the spot, and in the show. Whether Alexa’s audience is at home, on the move or on the set, Twitter and MTV will capture their experiences and bring them right into the show. Additionally, the RockYou Live video sharing application will let users submit their favorite viral videos and videos they shoot themselves to the show. Fans of The Alexa Chung Show will be able to constantly communicate with the show even when it’s not on air. Alexa’s network of friends are always doing things that matter and now with Twitter and RockYou they’ll be able to constantly keep in touch. Alexa is a brand new face to the U.S. audience – and a new voice for MTV.



The old:

Flip channels in the late afternoon and you’re liable to come across MTV’s Yack Live. Yack Live scrolls an America Online chat session across the bottom of the screen while a video plays above it. It’s interactive-free interactivity, for when offering up chat-room banter of your own requires too much thinking. The text meets every expectation you have: that a particular band “rulez” or “sux,” that RudeBoy69 is a very lonely young man, that enough people with enough keyboards will eventually produce every possible innuendo about Madonna. One wonders what the filtering software actually checks for. “Fuck” and “shit” and all the other biggies, we assume, but perhaps not “This broadcast is Copyright 1996 Suck. All rights reserved.”



What this means in the aggregate: Twitter is the new AOL chat room, only with an even faster burnout rate. Not sure who, exactly, will turn out to be the new Madonna here, but give it time.


Corporate Press-Release Theater: The ‘M’ Is For ‘Millennial’ [Time]
Hit & Run XXX [Suck]

  1. upping the horns for the return of non-reality tv programming. MOAR B&B.

  2. @Chainsaw Dick: but it’s not the real b & b, sadly:

    DJ AND THE FRO: MTV brings animation back to the network with DJ and the Fro. It’s Beavis and Butthead for the Millennial generation. DJ and the Fro work for a big corporation – though they aren’t sure exactly what the company does. Aimed at the generation that eats, sleeps and breathes technology — DJ and the Fro combines animation and the best of the web. The internet clips are arguably the stars of the show – the funniest, weirdest videos on the internet, made funnier and weirder by the observations of DJ and the Fro.

  3. @Maura: So it’s Beavis and Butthead updated for the ’90s.

  4. Wow, the holy trinity of irrelevance:

    MTV, AOL, Twitter

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