Monday, January 29, 2007

MTV's Second Life

Wired has a good, long article about MTV2.3 by Mark Wallace.


"These overhyped, underperforming portals may, however, soon be overshadowed by a tiny unit within the network called Leapfrog. Its mission: Don’t try to compete directly with today’s top destinations. Instead, find the next big thing so MTV can, yes, leapfrog the competition once social networking sites start to seem so five minutes ago.

With its headlong leap into virtual worlds, MTV hopes to forge MySpace 2.0—and find its way back to the cutting edge. “It’s like the moment you went from listening to music to watching it,” Matt Bostwick, a MTV senior vice president says. “Now we’re taking it from watching the show to actually becoming the show.”

This is what Bostwick calls a “brand-new kind of media,” a fully symbiotic relationship between the small screen and the computer screen, between the network, its audience, and its advertisers. It’s not just that MTV wants to get its viewers pushing virtual-world content back out to television. In the Leapfrog model, the virtual world becomes an equal partner. Your experience there isn’t secondary to a TV show or video rotation; it is the show, and it is the rotation.

This year, the Leapfrog team will roll out a “music world,” a new 3-D social space that replicates hip clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “Your social status in this world might be based on how early you discover new bands and share them with others,” Yapp says. Do well enough and you can become a virtual promoter, programming music at in-world clubs. Up-and-coming bands will also be able to do virtual gigs in-world, and Yapp suggests that exposure in the CG realm could eventually land them a spot on MTV. That’s a lot better than hoping an A&R guy finds your song on MySpace."

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