MTV chief says 'nothing changes' for VH1, MTV2 amid Viacom strategy shift

MTV's Chris McCarthy, pictured, joffered updates on MTV2, Logo and VH1, all of which are on the outside looking in at the new Viacom core six networks. Image: Viacom

After Viacom relegated channels like VH1 and MTV2 as “non-core,” MTV chief Chris McCarthy reassured stakeholders that it will be business as usual for Viacom networks outside of the core.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, McCarthy offered updates on MTV2, Logo and VH1, all of which are on the outside looking in at the new Viacom core six networks: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount, which is the name Spike will take on when it is rebranded in early 2018.

“For VH1, nothing changes. It's incredibly strong and doing great,” McCarthy told the publication. “We have an amazing pipeline and as a domestic brand, it's incredibly powerful and continues to take more share and keep engaging the audience and talent. We have no plans of that stopping.”

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McCarthy said that Viacom wishes Logo had more distribution but that for its size the channel has a large audience share. He added that Viacom assets like Logo may be given a larger platform through MTV and VH1.

For MTV2, McCarthy said the network remains a great place for Viacom to “incubate talent” and, even though going forward the focus will be placed on MTV, that it doesn’t mean the business will change, according to the interview.

McCarthy’s words of assurance for Viacom brands comes after CEO Bob Bakish used the company’s quarterly earnings call to lay out the new strategic vision for Viacom, including its new emphasis on its core networks.

“These six brands each have compelling, valuable and distinct brand propositions. They serve diverse, substantial audiences with largely-owned content, have global reach and distribution potential across linear, digital, film and consumer products, events and experiences,” the company said in a statement. “Viacom's other brands—some of which hold strong positions in their categories and maintain diverse and loyal followings—will be realigned to reinforce the six flagship brands.”

Still, Bakish was careful to say the move was not a “light switch turning off a whole bunch of networks,” but more of a refocus of Viacom’s efforts on the most successful networks.