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Published:August 2nd, 2006 09:26 EST
MTV Expands Their Grip To Worldwide Audiences

MTV Expands Their Grip To Worldwide Audiences

By Lonny Stewart

25 years ago, a group of people launched a network with the aim of spreading around the then current trend of creating a video set to an artists music. They called themselves “MTV,” short for Music Television, and little did they know that their small network, featured only on a handful of cable providers, would turn into the authoritarian source for all things related to the young, hip culture.

Few things, if any, evade MTV’s grasp when it comes to identifying and promoting anything that pop-culture produces which may be relevant to the age group that MTV targets. MTV has single-handedly created and destroyed phenomena using the question of “What would our viewers want to see?” They’re responsible for the exposure of numerous artists who otherwise would have never had the same chance to create, and connect to new fans. They’ve also designed numerous television programs that have helped shape new forms of television genre, specifically Reality TV, and they’ve even managed to make some of the most controversial programs ever aired. (Think Beavis and Butthead, Jackass.)

Without a doubt, MTV’s influence in American pop-culture is significant. But what is even more amazing is that MTV is now branching out all over the world, setting up networks and tailoring to music markets that didn’t have a voice in mainstream music prior to their invention. Their goal isn’t to expose these regions to American music, rather, the opposite is true. An MTV executive told The Economist that, “We don’t even call it an adaptation of American content: it’s local content creation.”

Ultimately, they hope to expose Americans to the forms of music that they normally wouldn’t have listened to before, while still giving a voice to the local peoples. With the advent of several new channels, including MTV China, MTV Pakistan, MTV-K, aimed at Korean-Americans, and MTV Chi, aimed at Chinese-Americans, MTV is giving new artists a chance to shine on the same stage that was once given to American acts like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and other revolutionary musicians. As a result, we’ve seen a lot of foreign acts come to a mainstream audience-- including Shakira and Tatu, both of whom were huge hits in their respective countries of Columbia and Russia.

With all their activity in the world of music and pop-culture, MTV has to be considered amongst the frontline leaders in representing the value of diversity, even if some question the morality and taste of the programs and music that they clearly market to a youthful audience. One thing is for sure: MTV is here to stay, and they know what young people want, because they maintain their youthful, vibrant image of a hip corporation dedicated to bringing only the finest to their audience. Love them or hate them, MTV is the number one gauge and monitor of today’s young generation.

Source: US State Dept.