Oh Second Life…
Now MTV execs are scrambling to catch up with the hot new hangout spots on the Web. The network’s parent company, Viacom, had a chance to buy MySpace, but competitor News Corp. snapped it up for $580 million in 2005. (A corporate reshuffle at Viacom followed.) MTV has been reduced to copycat initiatives. Last May, MTV beta-launched the subscription-based music-download service Urge to compete with Apple’s iTunes. It continues to beef up Overdrive, a broadband site offering free music videos and show outtakes that vainly tries to compete with YouTube. The shows also have discussion forums-—but they aren’t holding on to as many eyeballs as the network would like. “Kids were watching Laguna Beach,” says Matt Bostwick, an MTV senior vice president, “but then they were going everyplace else on the Web to talk about what they’d just seen.”
These overhyped, underperforming MTV.com 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.
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