Wednesday, August 13, 2003

HARD TIMES DOWN CAMDEN WAY: MTV is taking a hit of five million quid in the cash it gets from B Sky B in return for the channels it provides on Digital Satelitte in the UK. This will be doubly unwelcome at a time when the channel is promising to pump more into original programming in a bid to try and shore up its share of the hugely-competitive music TV market, the first fruits of which have been seen in the oddly-overhyped introduction of Total Request Live to the UK.

TRL is a live, back-from-school-slot affair with guests and a supposedly charismatic host (we know, this isn't very different at all from the show Richard Blackwood was doing on MTV in the afternoons , except for the 'sharing the name with the American version'. The MTV TRL-UK mini-site bubbles with enthusiasm, suggesting that in the US, it was responsible for Britney's first hit (erm, actually, a well-executed web campaign wasn't it?) and that you can choose the music and see stars performing. This might have been great in the states, but in the UK, while not unattractive, it's far from unique. Why try and choose a video for a channel that's only going to play a handful in a tight little slot when there are about a dozen channels which really are total request-based? And stars playing live? What, like on The Saturday Show, CD:UK, TOTP - jesus, even This Morning?

If you do end up on the show, learn from another's experience - telling MTV that you've broken the law won't mean you're granted immunity. Even if you are a doofus.

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