IN 1981, music as we knew it changed forever. The Buggles’ song Video Killed the Radio Star aired for the first time on MTV and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ever since, MTV has grown to become not just one of the most-watched cable channel in the world, but also one of the biggest brands in music entertainment.
As of August 2013, approximately 97.7 million American households (85.51% of households with television) received MTV and its popularity spawned numerous sister channels in the US and affiliated channels internationally.
Despite being on air for more than three decades, MTV has stayed relevant by continuously evolving and reinventing itself as a brand.
With shows like Teen Wolf, Teen Mom 2 and Catfish, the brand is continuously enticing millennials and expanding its global reach.
MTV Networks senior vice-president and director of television Kerry Taylor, who was in Malaysia recently to talk to millennials from the Asean region, says the channel has remained relevant by being in constant conversation with their audience.
“We recently conducted a survey involving 20,000 millennials from 32 countries and that research helps us stay connected. Technology is ever changing and we had to shift the way we are delivering content to our viewers who are connected to social media 24 hours a day.
“In Malaysia, for example, we have the World Stage event and that gave us an opportunity to work with a member of our audience,” said Taylor.
MTV World Stage is a global series that showcases multi-genre talent with global relevance, telecast to an audience in over 550 million households.
Recorded live at the most exclusive venues, world-renowned music festivals and unique concert locations from around the world, the series is the front row seat for music lovers to experience the biggest artists in the world without leaving the comfort of their sofas.
MTV World Stage Malaysia is part of this platform that delivers the MTV brand experience not only on the ground with MTV fans in Malaysia, but with a global airing in 154 countries across MTV Networks.
The Malaysia show, which started in 2009, is also MTV’s first originally produced MTV World Stage event aired globally.
In line with that, the MTV World Stage Insider is a campaign that rewards a worthy candidate with the coolest 10-day job to be part of MTV’s social media team for MTV World Stage Malaysia.
The MTV World Stage Insider search targets music fans from Malaysia and around South-East Asia, who already have an active social media presence.
Two years ago, 24-year-old Matthew Zachary Liu from Singapore assumed control of MTV Asia’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms, for a 10-day period.
His news and posts helped create ten times more buzz around the hashtag #worldstagemy, which trended on Twitter over the 10 days and was the top trend over four days in Malaysia.
Liu’s updates garnered over 25,000 more followers across MTV’s social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Last year, college student Aric Ting’s was picked to be the MTV World Stage Insider 2014, giving him an all-access backstage pass to capture behind the scenes moments and first-hand insider information.
“It is absolutely crucial to listen to millennials when making major business decisions. By 2020, 50% of the workforce in Asia will be millennials. We try to bring millennials and executives together at MTV and we flip mentoring. This has given us some great results,” said Taylor.
This region still remains one of the most important for the music channel. “We are seeing fantastic growth in this market. We have created shows to cater to local audiences and it has helped with our success,” explains Taylor.
MTV also has strategic partnerships with several brands in the region to keep things fresh for millennials.
In 2013, MTV teamed up with tech giant Lenovo to bring Lenovo-MTV CO:LAB — an integrated social platform that enables Millennials from across India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — to share stories about their communities through music.
Winners were awarded US$10,000 (RM36, 000), and a trip to Singapore to participate in an five-day workshop to create an original MTV music video.
From a total of 1,597 registered participants, 872 submissions, 102,911 votes and 28 country winners, Yuji Mitsuhashi (Japan), Ron Roumsub (Thailand), Karan Bedi (India) and Nick Chan (Singapore), displayed exceptional craft, skill and creativity in the campaign.
Last year, Acuvue challenged youths to pursue their passions with its Dare to Be integrated campaign.
Open to participants in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, one winner from each country will compete to take on the final challenge to be a presenter at the MTV World Stage Malaysia event.
“We see the Asian audience as being really tech savvy and using technology to stay connected. We will continue to bring new content on social platforms and also on air.
Gone are the days where we can launch a show with just an ad,” said Taylor.
“We will also be launching MTV Music Evolution in Manila later this year.
“The show will showcase iconic international music artists and the hottest new acts in both the regional and local music scenes on a single stage, while featuring the best of the Philippine’s music and culture to international youth audiences,” Taylor explained.
She does not rule out of the possibility of that show being replicated in other countries.
“MTV may be over 30 but it still remains cool — thanks to the continuous communication with the younger generation.”