MTV (sometimes called MTV Europe or MTV Global) is an international pay television network launched as MTV Europe on 1 August 1987. Initially, the channel served all regions within Europe being one of the very few channels that targeted the entire European continent. The channel serves a selection of European countries as ViacomCBS Networks EMEAA began to regionalise its network in 1997. However, since 2021, the channel has expanded outside of Europe.
1987–1997: One MTV for the whole of Europe
MTV began as MTV Europe under a co-operative agreement between Viacom, BT and Robert Maxwell, which lasted until 1991 when Viacom took over full ownership. MTV is wholly owned and operated by ViacomCBS International Media Networks Europe.
Since its premiere, MTV revolutionized the music industry. Slogans such as "I want my MTV!" became embedded in the concept of the VJ was popularized, the idea of a dedicated video-based outlet for music was introduced, and both artists and fans found a central location for music events, news, and promotion. MTV has also been referenced countless times in popular culture by musicians, other TV channels and shows, films, and books. "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits was the first music video to air on MTV Europe's launch.
From its launch in 1987 and until its break-up into different MTV stations across Europe in 1997, MTV Europe became famous for its VJs who came from all over Europe (plus Pip Dann, a New Zealander), who used to introduce videos and programs round the clock in English. The most popular presenter on the channel was without a doubt Ray Cokes whose show Most Wanted ran from 1992-1995. Other presenters included 80s pop star Paul King (King - Love & Pride), Davina McCall & Terry Christian
- MTV Europe launched on 1 August 1987 from Amsterdam, Netherlands with a live performance from Elton John and the offices were located at 20-23 Mandela Street and 180 Oxford Street in London. It kicked off in Denmark, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and USSR. But in the USSR he broadcast in a test mode one hour a week.
- With similar tongue-in-cheek humour as the 1981 US channel launch, the first video shown was Money for Nothing by Dire Straits, which, appropriately, starts and finishes with repetition of the line "I want my MTV", voiced by Sting.
- MTV shows at this time included MTV's Greatest Hits, Headbangers Ball, MTV's Most Wanted with Ray Cokes, The Big Picture (movie releases), The Pulse (fashion and style), 120 Minutes and the MTV Coca-Cola Report with Kristiane Backer (music news, interviews and tour dates).
- In February 1988 MTV moved into Breakfast Television Centre in Hawley crescent, Camden Lock the former headquarters of ITV's now defunct breakfast television company, TV-am. During the 2010s the building went through a massive redevelopment. With its main studio being knocked down. Viacom International runs many of its operations from here now.
- In December 1988, the leaders of MTV Europe visited the USSR for preliminary negotiations on the start of work.
- In early 1991 Metromedia International Group together with Lencentel signed a contract with MTV Europe for 5 years. This is the first contract for the broadcasting of a foreign channel signed in the USSR. On March 8, 1991, the channel began broadcasting in St. Petersburg, and later in other major cities, which made it possible to become the first Western 24-hour TV channel that could be received in the USSR.
- MTV always had its Transmission Centre in London - having been launched in August 1987 from the Chrysalis TV owned Air TV facility.
- MTV became something of a pioneer in Europe when in 1995 it began to broadcast using digitally compressed transmissions.
- From 1993 to 1996, MTV was broadcast on Russian TV channels 2x2, TV-6, Muz-TV, Seti-NN etc. It was also broadcast from 1992 to 1994 on Polish TV channel TVP1.
- The channel was free-to-air until July 1, 1995. From then on, the program was only available by subscription, primarily for cable networks.
- At the end of 1995, «Chello Zone» became the distributor of the channel in the CIS and the Baltic States. MTV Europe stopped broadcasting in these countries on September 25, 1998, when MTV Russia was launched.
1997–2010: The regionalization of MTV in Europe
In 1997, MTV Networks Europe began to regionalize its MTV feed in a number of areas in Europe.
- In March 1997, MTV Central (Central as in Central Europe) was launched as a German-speaking MTV music channel available in Germany and Austria. It was initially broadcast out of Hamburg before moving to Munich and finally Berlin. MTV Central later was renamed MTV Germany.
- On 1 July 1997, MTV UK & Ireland launched, followed by MTV Italia in September. MTV Nordic for Scandinavia launched in June 1998 and MTV Russia for Russia launched on 25 September 1998. Since 2000, MTV Networks Europe launched other regional channels across the continent. MTVF for France launched in June, followed by MTV Polska in July and both MTV España and MTV NL in September.
- In May 2002, the channel re-branded as 'MTV European'. In August 2007, it moved its editorial base from London to Warsaw, Poland, though still beaming its signal from MTV Networks Europe's London headquarters.
- MTV Turkey launched in 2006, ceased its broadcast in 2011 by transferring its frequency to MTV Europe.
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- Prior to 1 August 2010, MTV provided a unique mix of popular culture programming along with music videos.
- As of 1 August 2010, European's MTV has controversially removed its core music programming and replaced it with reality based programming from the US MTV channel.
- MTV is aimed at viewers aged around 16-35, it reaches more than 100 million households in 43 territories.
- The channels broadcast centre is located in Prague, Czech Republic (previously London) and programming produced at MTV Networks headquarters in Warsaw, Poland.
- In July 2011, MTV rebranded its channel utilizing a new logo and idents.
- In August 2012, MTV suspended from programing all of the broadcast charts.
- In January 2013, three charts are back on MTV - Hitlist UK, Base Chart and Dance Floor Chart
- In Summer 2015, MTV rebranded the channels identity focusing on MTVBump.com initiative and allowing more social friendly idents created by MTV viewers.
- In December 2017, MTV received a new on-air look similar to the Latin American MTV and Brazilian MTV which launched in August. Other local MTV channels across Europe began to use a similar on-air branding also.
- In June 2018 MTV removed MTV Only hits and replaced it with M is for Music (through the morning until 7 am with MTV Breakfast Club).
- Since November 2018 MTV Breakfast club is on air until 8 AM and M is for Music Through the noon was shortened to 1 hour.
- The same time was M is for Music (evening music video block) was moved from 6 PM to 4 PM and evening block Euro top chart was moved from Saturday to Friday.
- Since June 2019 there is MTV Breakfast club Monday to Saturday between 6 and 8 AM CET on air. On Sunday is MTV Breakfast club replaced with Euro top chart.
- The same time all others music video blocks through the day are removed (only Euro top chart on Friday between 9 and 11 AM remains).
- Since June 2019 all music videos are on air only until 8 AM CET with exception of Euro Top chart on Friday between 9 and 11 AM.
- All others daily music video blocks are replaced with MTV original reality and lifestyle shows like Siesta key, Teen mom or Catfish and others.
As of 2021, MTV Global broadcasts in the following territories:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
Free-to-air satellite transmissions
MTV Germany was available FTA on Astra 19,2E, but it became encrypted on 1 January 2011. Until August 2015 the Italian MTV-station was free to air available on Eutelsat 12 West A. However, with the take-over of Sky Italia of this channel, it has been rebranded TV8. MTV Italia has become an exclusive Sky-channel only for subscribers. On 23 December 2017, MTV Germany turned itself into a free-to-air channel.