Friday, 28 August 2015

Let's Roleplay: BET + MTV2

In an earlier post, I commented on the overlap between the BET Networks and MTV's urban music channels: MTV2 and MTV Jams. I also forgot to talk about BET's low-budget presentation: what with its lack of original series, the poor promotion of upcoming events, and asinine graphics which cuts out the ending to a show and can even take up 1/3 of the screen! But now that I have, let's get back on topic. Viacom networks are all in the middle of a transition, a metamorphosis of sorts, the most recognizable being Spike and TV Land's re-brands. Now, if any other network is in need of a makeover right now, it's BET.

Ever since 106 & Park came to an end, the only thing keeping people from changing channels was BET's scripted series and special events like the BET Awards. They come for those shows, but once they're finished, they head back to greener pastures, since they've already watched Life twenty times and can watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, without commercials or irritating bugs, on Netflix.

Meanwhile, MTV2 is scoring record ratings.. on its own channel because, up until now, nobody watched their channel, not even for Bellator. Thanks to the popularity of Wild n' Out and Guy Code, they've begun producing better, sensible, more notable shows. A lot better than most of the crap MTV makes. Unfortunately, said shows are never around for more than 10 episodes; meaning all MTV2 really has to offer is reruns of MTV shows already airing on the main network, syndicated sitcoms that you've already seen on another channel, and really crappy movies. It's pointless to remind you, but isn't this supposed to be the MTV network that's actually about music?

Here's my solution: a merger. I purpose we shut down MTV2 (and MTV Jams) and let BET be the hip-hop network; like how CMT is the country network, and VH1 is the "adult" music network. Since virtually every show on MTV2 not named Guy Code & Wild n' Out hasn't lasted more than a season, and most of BET's new programming are just cheap reality shows, I believe we should incorporate MTV2's programming into BET's lineup. Hell, with their reboot of Punk'd, they've already starting taking MTV shows as their own anyway. MTV2 and BET both target the same age range, the demographics are different, but you'd wouldn't know that since they both air the same damn sitcoms.

At this point, the only reason why MTV2 (and BET Hip-Hop) exists is to drive profits for Viacom, to the point where if just one of their networks aren't on cable or satellite, none of them are. I still wonder what kind of strategy that is; if the provider doesn't want to carry their channel, it's probably because it's a piece of shit...or because said provider was DirecTV. It's as if everything, everything, from the cancellation of TRL to the launch of NickMom, was for no other reason but to cut costs and drive ratings. That's fine, but what's the point if it ends up damaging established brands and turns away viewers, since the network they used to love has become a shadow of its former self? Now that the cord cutting revolution has begun, Viacom is desperate to milk as many cows as they can before they, and other companies, are reduced to the same level playing field.

Of course, just shutting down worthless channels isn't a sound business strategy, not if they can still be revamped. MTV2 could still shift back towards actual music programming, and leave non-music programming to MTV1. Of course that's about as likely as Oxygen making a reality show that isn't a trashy piece of shit (Too soon?). Instead of milking dust, what I'm proposing will give those chumps at Viacom a fresh new cow to process. After all, what's the point of keeping around channels if you're not going to put in the effort to make them stand out; if all you're going to do is stick with a few exclusive shows and fill the rest of the schedule with rehashed shit? At least NBC was able to figure that shit out!

...Oh dear lord, Viacom really is the American Bell Media: twice the money, double the stupidity. Prey for BET, folks. Prey.

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