MTV owner Viacom Inc. plans to enter the business of connecting youth viewers on the Internet this year, a top Viacom executive said on Wednesday, amid threats of losing its cool cachet to News Corp.
For MTV, once a music video cable channel that transformed into a global programming powerhouse, the fight to stay relevant with fickle young tastemakers on the Web has only just begun.
“We don’t believe the game is over,” said Tom Freston, chief executive officer of Viacom, at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York.
“Really, it’s just started,” he said of the online hangouts.
Viacom has met with several of the handful of so-called Internet social networking businesses, but has not decided whether it would enter the market through partnerships or acquisitions.
“I would expect within this year you’ll see some good social networking capabilities in our company,” Freston said.
The move would pit the owner of MTV Networks, which defines the youth media market, against MySpace.com.