Monday, September 08, 2008


Is it finally time to retire the Video Music Awards show on MTV? Everything about it seems old, which is the very antithesis of what this lifestyle cable channel is all about.

For those who came in late, MTV started as a cable channel back in 1981. Originally MTV stood for "Music Television" because the channel pretty much played music videos (then a developing artform/marketing tool) 24/7. Over time, the programming changed, to the point where videos seldom make an appearance on the channel.

The original concept of the MTV Video Music Awards was to create a program that was the opposite of the stuffy awards shows like the Oscars and Tonys. And the idea was to showcase music videos -- a format that had no other outlets at the time.

So here we are in 2008. MTV is saluting a format it never airs -- and airs with increasing rarity on MTV2 and VH1. The casual nature of the program where anything could happen has become a tightly controlled reality show where something outrageous MUST happen (like the Madonna/Brittany Spears/Christina Agularia kiss) every time.

But the increasing "outrageousness" of the antics seems to have an air of desperation. Viewership continues to plummet for the program -- a 45% decline over the past two years.

MTV isn't the source for music videos anymore -- YouTube is. Time for MTV to move on -- its audience has.

- Ralph

Day 86 of the WJMA Web Watch.

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