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As usual, MTV shows the way

From Ad Age:

Later this summer, MTV will introduce a new service that creates mobile communities around user-generated content. He didn’t elaborate in his keynote, but several weeks ago told Advertising Age that MTV plans to allow users to create their own ringtones and other wireless content, which they can then upload to their phones. “The mobile handset is the holy grail of electronic devices,” [MTV Networks Music President Van Toffler] said. While global youth spend $16 billion on music, they spend $106 billion on mobile. Teens rank it more desirable than laptop computers, MP3 players and video-game consoles.”

As the younger generation continues to tune out traditional radio (and all the evidence indicates that’s exactly what they’re doing) the mobile phone is well on its way to becoming central to their entertainment universe.

MTV, because of its strong brand identity and its long record of on-target program development, is perfectly staged to exploit this trend.

But radio – with a spotty reputation among younger listeners, a zillion micro-brands from coast to coast, and an emphasis on recycling hits rather than developing programs – is likely to be a wallflower at this most-important-of-all dances.

We can do deals with Verizon and Sprint until we’re blue in the face, but when it comes to the idea of “streaming” radio to cell phones the broadcasters best positioned for the win are named XM and Sirius: Big brand identity, positive consumer association, fast and centralized decision-making, national footprint, exclusive star content, roster of special programs….

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Mr. broadcasting company: What you can’t do you should buy.

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