MTV Preps Digital Makeover for 'House of Style'
Will bow in October as digital first series for online and mobile
By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/24/2012 9:00:00 AM
The reboot of the classic series with new video segments and a number of social media and digital extensions will be available for at its MTV Style site beginning on Oct. 9.
As part of the effort to reboot the classic series, which ran in a variety of forms from 1989 to 2000 on MTV, the company is planning a series of events to build buzz around the property.
To begin with, the company has gone back to the archives of the original run of the House of Style and created an extensive online and social media experience around the content that includes selected video clips, summaries of each episode and a curated commentary on what the interviews, stories and other content mean for the fashion world today.
That material went live Tuesday, July 24, as the House of Style Collection, with over 167 video episodes.
This will be followed by the launch of a documentary on the House of Style on Aug. 7 designed to highlight the story of the series, the connection between music and fashion that the series explored in the 1990s and the impact this fashion had on today's style.
On Sept. 6, MTV Networks will announce the host for the new digital episodes on the red carpet at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.
Colin Helms, senior VP of MTV Digital Media at MTV Networks, noted that the relaunch fits into a larger digital strategy of "super-serving" audiences with specific interests, such as style, on MTV Style and other digital platforms.
MTV Style now attracts around 1 million unique visitors each month.
As the company looked to expand the video content already available at MTV Style, users often asked when the company might be bringing back the iconic series. "We wanted to create a flagship series for MTV Style and decided to bring back the House of Style for the digital age," Helms notes.
Since the series ended its MTV run, however, the way people consumed fashion and related to it has undergone a radical change, which has prompted a very different approach for the new series, notes Sophia Rai, VP of MTV Digital Productions.
A key component of the new series will be its flexibility, Helms and Rai stress. Episode lengths are likely to vary between one to five minutes and a great deal of stress will be put on social media tools that will allow a "conversation" about the series and fashion to continue between episodes on other platforms, such as Pinterest.
"We want to create something in the digital space that can turn on a dime and cover trends as they are changing very quickly," in a way that might be difficult with a more traditional TV series, Rai explains.
Details of content, promotional strategy and the exact format are still be worked out, but MTV Networks is looking at the property as a "digital first" effort with episodes that will appear multiple times a week during October and November.
It will be cross-promoted between platforms and segments could appear on-air as well, though the company isn't releasing specific details.
"We are thinking about it as 'digital first' but we are creating it in a way that can work on all other screens and we do think there may be some options for running it on linear channels," Helms says.
In developing the archival material that will launch Tuesday as the House of Style Collection, the company has cleared a great deal of material for all digital platforms from 58 episodes and focused on making the material relevant for today's audience.
To reintroduce the content to newer audiences, the archive is also accessible in a variety of ways. For example, a user can access content via a list of celebrity names that would provide access to all the episodes where Cindy Crawford or Karl Lagerfeld appeared.
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