New York, NY – June 4, 2001 – Rainbow Media’s MuchMusic USA, the nation’s only viewer-driven all music network, unveiled today a new creative blueprint for the brand, the foundation of which is new interactive original programming and integrated Internet functionality. Scheduled to debut in June, the programs, Tastemaker, Mixtape Masterpiece, Random Intelligence and OvenFresh as well as MuchMusic’s new Videolator technology that enables viewers to make their own videos, utilize multi-platform technology to create a peer-to-peer viewer dynamic and take interactive content to unprecedented levels. MuchMusic USA is one of the businesses represented in the Rainbow Media Group tracking stock (NYSE: RMG) a new class of Cablevision common stock that began trading on the NYSE on March 30.
“The launch of MuchMusic’s viewer-driven programming marks a new chapter in interactive content for television,” said Nora Ryan, acting general manger, MuchMusic USA and SVP of business strategy for Rainbow Media. “In a time when the Internet has become a vital method of connecting music fans to the artists they love, MuchMusic USA is bringing a new sense of community and peer-to-peer exchange to television by incorporating our audience into the fabric of the network, making our audience a central part of the brand.”
MuchMusic’s new programming empowers viewers by giving them an opportunity to be heard and seen on-air. Viewers use online software to create videos for their favorite new artists, upload video clips of themselves offering opinions about music, submit feedback, new music suggestions and choose which emerging artists will play on-air. Through their online participation, viewers have an enhanced entertainment experience and drive what is shown on the network.
“No other network comes close to what MuchMusic USA provides a national audience in innovative music programming and cross-platform technology, ” continues Ryan. “We have also designed this content to support MSO’s as they roll out digital products and services.”
The shows will air in a new daily strip of programming that includes:
Tastemaker: Real viewers have a chance to have their opinions heard as they host this daily, half-hour video block. Tastemaker “wannabes” go online to upload video clips of themselves – speaking their minds about music and opening the doors to a virtual community around the music videos they want to watch. Each week viewers vote current Tastemakers out and new ones in.
Oven Fresh: Viewers vote online everyday to select the best new music videos in various genres that they want to see as part of the regular on-air rotation. Oven Fresh is the place for viewers to add videos into regular programming, “Keep It” or vote them out, “Lose It”. The daily 30-minute showcase features new releases, new artists and the latest hits.
Mixtape Masterpiece: Each week a new theme/question is posted online inviting viewers to create a video mix that matches the theme, i.e. “What music do you play while getting ready for a first date? ” Viewers go online to upload a video of them explaining their selections. Everyday this one-hour show will feature a different viewer’s mix.
Random Intelligence: From the street, clubs or a local venue, viewers are the eyes and ears of what’s happening at the grass roots level of their local music scene. Viewers become local stringers, bringing “happenings” from wherever they find music they want to share. Surveillance video from viewers is uploaded online and shown on-air during this weekly half-hour show.
“MuchMusic USA has changed the meaning of choice and control, taking it to an entirely new level in programming. These new shows support the company’s directive of providing music television powered by the viewer, not the company, ” said Norm Schoenfeld, vice president of programming for MuchMusic USA. “There is a large disenfranchised viewership waiting for videos to return to the forefront of the music industry and MuchMusic is bringing them back with an added interactive component. Other networks have often talked about this concept, but no one has delivered until now. We are taking a bold and aggressive step to meet the demands of viewers.”
MuchMusic USA through its Web site www.mmusa.tv, provides a high level of interactivity through technology agreements with Heavy, Inc., an innovative developer of broadband content, iClips, Inc., a leading provider of Internet-based streaming video messaging, and Oddcast, Inc., a leading provider of consumer-friendly, interactive media applications.
One of the most impressive interactive features/functionality is “Viewer Made Videos.” Viewer Made Videos utilize specially developed ‘Videolator’ technology that enables the viewer to make his or her own music video. Monthly, one song is available online for viewers to turn into a video. Viewers vote for their favorite and the winner goes into regular on-air rotation.
In advance of the launch of MuchMusic’s programming, the network has formed several advertising/sponsorship relationships with leading brands including Nike, Pantene Pro-V and Johnson & Johnson.
“In this advertising climate, companies are focused more than ever on finding the most effective ways to reach consumers within very targeted demographics,” said Ryan. “We think that our programming will provide an incredible vehicle for optimizing a brand’s reach and maximizing the advertising dollars by reaching consumers both online and on television.”
In March, MuchMusic announced the signing of long-term MSO carriage agreements with Time Warner Cable and Adelphia Communications that will make the network available to more than 40 million basic homes by year-end 2001. As a result, MuchMusic USA became a part of nearly all of each operator’s digital basic packages.
MuchMusic USA is now available in the critical markets of Manhattan and Los Angeles. The network is currently being rolled out on Adelphia and Time Warner systems. MuchMusic USA is also available to viewers in a number of key cities across the country including: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, DC.
About MuchMusic USA
MuchMusic USA is the only independent music network, featuring music videos and live concerts in an all-music-all-the-time format. Beginning Summer 2001, the channel will feature viewer influenced and generated music programming. On MuchMusic USA, viewers voice their opinions, influence what’s on the air, participate in discovering new music and even create music video programming to air on the network. For more information about MuchMusic USA, please visit our Web site at www.mmusa.tv.
About Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc.
A subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) and NBC, Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. manages Bravo, The Independent Film Channel, American Movie Classics, We: Women’s Entertainment, MuchMusic USA, Rainbow Sports, News 12 Networks and MetroChannels as well as the Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications. In addition, Rainbow is a fifty-percent partner in Fox Sports Net. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (NYSE:MGM) owns a 20 percent stake in four of Rainbow’s national networks – AMC, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel and WE: Women’s Entertainment.
A new series of Cablevision common stock — Rainbow Media Group tracking stock (NYSE:RMG) — began trading on the NYSE on March 30 2001. The assets that comprise Rainbow Media Group tracking stock include: American Movie Classics, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel, WE: Women’s Entertainment, MuchMusic USA, Rainbow’s interest in the national service FOX Sports Net, Rainbow’s five regional sports channels outside of the New York market, and Rainbow Network Communications.
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