“AMTV”: MTV’s Latest Attempt To Bring Music Back Via The Addition Of Superfluous Letters To Its Brand

As rumored last week, MTV is going to once again try to silence those online cranks who whine about there being no music in the channel’s lineup—this time with a whole 24 hours of music-devoted programming a week!

Today (!) the channel launched AMTV, which will occupy the 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. block from Monday through Thursday; it’ll air videos, live performances, and other music-related bits of programming. (My various cable boxes gave the time slot the very unsexy name “Music Programming,” although perhaps that branding issue will be worked out in the coming days.) Since I missed the debut installment by about 90 minutes, I wasn’t able to see if the videos were played straight or in FNMTV-style, with eight million things going on around the clip so as to keep the ADD-addled youth of today interested for longer than half a second. The news that Unplugged is coming back as part of the new initiative may indicate a taste for somewhat longer-form programming, though:

“If we take ‘Unplugged,’ which our audience still knows and loves, and do a four-minute version after our highest-rated program in prime time, and then we say, ‘You can get it all immediately on MTV.com or see the full thing for the next four days in the morning,’ we’re going to have a lot more people watching,” he said.

How many more people? Well, the block won’t be measured by Nielsen. Luckily for MTV, though, “awareness” is currency that advertising companies still accept!

Mr. Friedman acknowledged that music had not always drawn “the level of viewership we hope for,” but nonetheless he said, “we know our audience wants more of it.”

The “AMTV” hours will not be measured by Nielsen’s ratings service. MTV is calling the morning block a laboratory for advertising partnerships; sometimes a company could sponsor all six hours, and other times it could insert its brand into individual segments.

MTV2 is already dipping its toe into sponsored music content with Green Label Sound, the Mountain Dew-branded MP3 label that specializes in blog-fodder artists like Matt & Kim. (Subterranean frequently has one video that’s “sponsored” by the label/bile-covered pop, although the only giveaway is the slightly askew title graphics bookending the clip.) Whether or not the marketing experiments will take that form remains to be seen, but at the very least this should be somewhat heartening for artists who are wondering where their licensing money could possibly come from now that the car-ad market is drying up.

MTV to Put a Bit More Music Back on Television [NYT]