MTV Turns 30: A Look Back

MTV quietly celebrated its 30th birthday last week (MTV launched just a few months before Young & Associates).   Love it or hate it, the “music” television station’s long-term cultural influence certainly says something about the longevity of a media company or any organization for that matter.  How has the network continued its success?

MTVNo Risk, No Reward

Propelling the video medium forward, MTV was viewed in the early ‘80s as one of the most innovative networks, bringing radio to television and musicians to viewers in a new way.  The network has never been afraid to push the envelope by trying new things or exploring controversial issues.  Think “Headbangers’ Ball”, the push around alternative music, the set-up of “Total Request Live” and now, do I even dare say it, “Jersey Shore.”

Turn Criticism into a Positive

While the network has had its share of success, it has come with criticism over the years, including claims the network devalues the music industry, discriminates and glamorizes serious issues like teen pregnancy.  All corporations are likely to experience negative feedback.  Like MTV, how you handle and respond to the criticism is crucial to remaining successful and staying above the fray.

Embrace Change

While MTV’s original premise was VJs playing music videos 24/7, the network’s approach shifted dramatically to focus on television programming in the 2000’s.  MTV even takes credit for launching the first reality program “The Real World” in 1992. Remember Julie, Kevin and Eric? You’ve heard it before, but don’t be afraid of change.  All successful, well-established companies have been required to evolve to meet their customers’ demands, maintain their resources and/or adapt to new technology.

Even if you aren’t a fan, it is clear MTV’s success has been a direct result of its creativity and ability to reinvent itself.   How will you reinvent yourself today?

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