business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Hollywood Reporter writes that after 36 years, MTV News - which "was created to expand the stable of programming that defined the cable channel MTV," and "became a bona fide news outlet for Gen X and older millennials who found that traditional TV programming on the broadcast networks and CNN wasn’t cutting it," is itself being shut down.

In other words, it didn't make it to the big 4-0.

The story notes that MTV News "covered music, pop culture, politics and other topics with an eye toward the younger generation that was tuned to MTV, rather than the network evening newscasts.  Along the way, MTV News created some pop culture moments itself, perhaps none bigger than in 1994, when President Clinton appeared on MTV’s Enough Is Enough, a town hall addressing violence in America … MTV News subsequently held town halls with Barack Obama, John McCain, Bill Gates and others … Coverage of topics like sexual health, the Iraq War and devastating natural disasters earned the news division and its correspondents Emmys and Peabody Awards, while it continued to deliver news and criticism of music and pop culture."

But now, in part because parent company Paramount Global was looking to cut costs, but also because the format simply was irrelevant to young people who are absorbing content in other ways, MTV News became expendable.

It is a good and Eye-Opening lesson in the life cycle of a business, and how leaders have to continually reinvent their enterprises if they want to remain viable and credible.

Sure, MTV News may have been an institution.  But that is a description of dubious benefit these days - after all, as the old joke goes, who wants to live in an institution?