MTVN’s McGrath: Broadband Bolsters Audiences


TV executives fearful that putting their best product online will draw viewers from their core networks should stop worrying, according to MTV Networks (MTVN) Chairman Judy McGrath, who asserts that broadband has only bolstered her networks' audiences.

Delivering the opening keynote address at cable marketing trade group's CTAM's annual convention in Boston Tuesday, McGrath noted that MTV and Nickelodeon have been exceptionally aggressive in making content available on the Internet. "We've never had higher television ratings," McGrath told the marketing executives. "It really is true—it's additive."

More than any other conventional TV executive, McGrath has charged into broadband, mobile and other new media, creating elaborate Websites and sprinkling her operations with a raft of Web acquisitions such as kids virtual critter site Neopets and videogame site Xfire. Most of MTVN's networks are in a perfect position because they own all the rights to most of their key shows, buying very little from outside studios that have been reluctant to allow networks to put their content online.

The young demos of those networks, plus Comedy Central and Spike, readily adapt to new technology and seek "an infinite amount of content."

"I wouldn't call it an experiment; it's what we do," McGrath says.

She added that TV is in the midst of revival with both cable and broadcast networks putting on tremendous programming: 'The amount and variety and quality of creative thinking that's going into it has never been better."

CTAM said that 2,936 attendees had registered for the convention by early Tuesday.