MTV Networks International: Localizing Globally

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR236
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 1987-2006
Organization : MTV Networks
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India, China, Japan, The UK, Italy, Australia
Themes: Globalization
Industry : Media, Entertainment, and Gaming

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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MTV Network's International Expansion

When MTVI was formed in 1987, the executives at Viacom reportedly believed that anything that worked in the US would work anywhere in the world. Consequently, MTVI began by airing programs similar to those broadcast in the US. However, it soon realized that the audience in various regions preferred localized content, which included music videos and shows by performers from those regions. MTVI adopted the policy of 'Think Globally, Act Locally', in the mid-1990s and began to launch separate channels in its different regions. Although many programs were adapted from American originals, the channels were presented in a localized format. MTVI tried to establish MTV as a 'global brand' with a 'local outlook'. (Refer to Exhibit II for some of MTV's international logos in different regions)...

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MTV Networks Asia-Pacific

MTVN Asia-Pacific consisted of MTV's Asian and Australian operations. It was established in 1994 with its headquarters in Singapore. The three MTVN branded channels that were available through this subsidiary were MTV, Nickelodeon, and VH1. Each of the three channels had their localized versions in many countries in the region...

Other Localization Moves

MTVI, like MTVN, was known for providing a platform for new musicians. Many musicians, who were unknown outside their regions earlier, became global names after having been featured on MTV and its sister channels.

For example, Shakira, a Columbian singer, went on to win the Grammy and Latin Grammy awards after she was featured on MTV Unplugged.

This established her as one of the leading singers on music charts all over the world...


According to some analysts, the biggest advantage that MTVI had over its competitors was that it was one of the early entrants on the international music scene. Therefore MTVN was able to make inroads into international markets before other networks. After MTVI was launched, several regional music channels began sprouting up in many countries...


Exhibit I: A Note on Viacom Inc.
Exhibit II: Some of MTV's International Logos
Exhibit III: Channels under MTVI

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