MTV GOES GLOBAL , WITH A LOCAL ACCENT
This case talks about how MTV Networks has become a symbol of Globalization. The US based music TV network which was established in 1981 started its international expansion in 1987 with MTV Europe. After its initial failure it has adopted various International strategies and controls at the right time to regain its lost popularity, especially in non-English speaking countries like Asia and Europe. The strategy which has worked for MTV has been its LOCALIZATION STRATEGY which is to ‘get inside the heads’ of the local population and produce programming that matches their tastes and preferences. This strategy has been a big success which has helped MTV gain a combined viewership of 321 million households in 140 countries by 2004. In India the ratings increased by more than 700 per cent in 4 years (1996-2000). Localization has helped MTV to capture the advertising revenues from the multinational giants such as Coca- Cola as this ...view middle of the document...
In 1987 it piped a single feed across Europe which entirely composed of American programming with English speaking Veejays. The locals couldn’t connect with the Veejays and language proved to be a barrier. MTV didn’t take into account the CULTURAL SPECIFICITY and hence this strategy didn’t prove to be a success as the taste among the viewers in Europe was dominantly local. Europeans shared common interest in only a handful of global superstars which included Madonna and Michael Jackson which was certainly not enough to make MTV Europe a success. and to make things worse during this period several local music stations started emerging across Europe which focussed on the local taste and preferences of individual countries.
These factors i.e. the CHANGE DRIVERS took the viewers and advertisers away from MTV until 1995 when MTV decided to adopt the LOCALIZATION STRATEGY. It did so by dividing Europe across 8 regions i.e. UK and Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Scandinavia, Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium and Greece. It adopted the same strategy in the other parts of the world. MTV adopts CREATIVE CONTROL over its different feeds. There are several factors that made this strategy work. One of them being ‘The digital and satellite technology’ which made the localization of programming easier and cheaper. The key to the success of this strategy is that MTV does a ‘ gene transfer ’ of company’s culture and operating principles when it starts a local station anywhere i.e. it begins with expatriates and once it is established it switches to the local employees. MTV has always been a trend setter with constantly providing the users with reality shows and innovative programs which have accounted significantly for its success around the world.
This case shows the evolution of MTV from adopting a global international strategy to localization strategy and how localization has helped it to globalize and gain success in international markets. It also shows that standardisation does not work everywhere in the world. What is popular in US might not be popular in Europe. Even though localization leads to higher costs a company will be able to recoup its costs through higher demand. A company needs to keep innovating and customize its product and goods or services to provide a good match to the tastes and preferences in different national markets.