MTV Announces Digital Development Studio, MTV Other

/ Jun 13, 2013

mtvother

Right as MTV rolled out the updated version of its app for iOS devices, the network also announced the creation of a new in-house digital/development studio named MTV Other.

The studio is launching with three web sketch-comedy series: “Late Night Munchies,” the animated “Rock Stories,” and “Inside Joke.” The goal for MTV Other is to create original short-form content, in the form of web series and other content formats, which would be piped directly to MTVOther.com and a new dedicated section within the MTV app.

MTV Other could also function as an incubator for future TV shows on MTV, though that isn’t the studio’s primary goal, according to what Colin Helms, senior vice president of the Connected Content Group at MTV, told Ad Age. Helms said that MTV Other allows the network to experiment creatively and discover new talent. He later admitted the possibility that some of these shows could move to TV.

Which wouldn’t be the first time a Viacom-owned network has used the web to test out new TV projects. Nickelodeon announced back in May that its inaugural Animated Shorts Program had collected 600 pitches from creators and artists of all types. From those 600 pitches, 12 shorts were produced, with all 12 receiving the opportunity to stream on Nick.com or the Nick app. (The program’s “Pam and Sid’s Port-a-Party” is already one of those online-only exclusives.) From that pool of 12 animated shorts, Nick said it had picked up six for series development with two getting pilot orders.

Using the web as a place to incubate larger, traditional media projects isn’t unique to Viacom, either. Earlier this year, WIGS announced a partnership with Fox, which, along with providing marketing and sales support, is using WIGS to develop future digital and TV franchises. Then in March, Ridley Scott’s production company, RSA, announced a  with Machinima to produce 12 digital sci-fi short films, with the potential to grow some of those projects into full-length features.

Using the web to incubate larger, traditional media projects isn’t unique to Viacom, either. Earlier this year, WIGS announced a partnership with Fox, which, along with providing marketing and sales support, is using WIGS to develop future digital and TV franchises. Then in March, Ridley Scott’s production company, RSA, struck a deal with Machinima to produce 12 digital sci-fi short films, with the potential to grow some of those projects into full-length features.

Which all seems to indicate that the establishment of MTV Other is less about MTV being late to the web video game, and more about the growing marriage between old media and new media.

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