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MTV’s ‘No Music’ Strategy Pays Off With Soaring Ratings


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In February, MTV dropped "Music Television" from its logo, and voila, viewership has gone up. A lot. According to the Street, MTV just posted its largest annual ratings increase since 1999 -- 1999, that halcyon time when there was Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys and "TRL"!

"The people who watch it today, they don't refer to MTV as music television," MTV's marketing chief Tina Exarhos said in the no-duh statement of the decade when the network made the logo switch -- its first such major redesign in the channel's 29-year history. And, no duh, the highest-rated show this year was "Jersey Shore." Which means more non-music shows are on the way.

[Video: Watch the scandalous trailer for 'Jersey Shore' season 3]

"In 2010 we've seen enormous ratings growth as a result of the process we began almost two years ago to reinvent MTV for a new generation," MTV general manager Stephen Friedman told the Street. "We look forward to a strong 2011 when we'll further diversify our lineup with new scripted series 'Skins' and 'Teen Wolf' alongside returning hits like 'Jersey Shore' and 'Teen Mom 2.' "

The ratings do prove a point -- the next generation of MTV viewers doesn't seem to care about whether they're seeing music on the channel (they have something called the Internet where videos roam free!). The only people who go nuts when stats like this emerge are folks old enough to remember "120 Minutes" and "Yo! MTV Raps." A tiny note of consolation for that beleagured demographic, which includes The Amp: Ratings for one of MTV's remaining music tentpoles, the Video Music Awards, were also up significantly this year, too.

[Photos: The most memorable VMA moments of all time]

But while MTV could technically play whatever videos they want on air (if they wanted to), they're pretty crippled online. Try watching any of multiple VMA winner Lady Gaga's videos on MTV's website. Good luck! You'll note only live performances, but no official clips are available because the network, Vevo, and her label -- which is also Eminem's label and the Black Eyed Peas' label -- haven't resolved their royalty dispute.


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