/// MTV Introduces On-Demand TV App in Europe
MTV has introduced a mobile app in Europe that fits somewhere between HBO Go and social TV platforms, letting users watch the network’s shows on demand and invite friends along to chat.
But the motivation for the app, available for iPhones and Android phones, is unique to MTV in Europe. It’s less about distributing content directly to consumers and more about snagging mobile subscribers for Europe’s MTV-branded wireless phone service.
The app, called “Under The Thumb,” was designed by digital agency AKQA and described Tuesday at the mobile industry’s biggest to-do of the year, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Without any MTV-branded wireless service in the U.S., there are no immediate plans to bring the app stateside.
And if MTV did want to replicate the app for the U.S., it would have to cut deals with wary cable and satellite operators, who have in some cases prevented networks like HBO from distributing content directly to consumers via mobile devices. It took Time Warner and Cablevision, for example, more than a year to agree to let their subscribers use the HBO Go app.
In Europe, however, anyone in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland can download Under The Thumb for free and access a limited number of episodes for shows such as “16 and Pregnant” or “Jersey Shore.” A second group can pay about $4 to stream more episodes per month. For the 2.5 million subscribers to MTV Mobile, all episodes are free.
The hope is that the lure of anytime content will translate into more mobile subscribers for MTV, said Michel Dupont, senior VP-mobile brand licensing for MTV International. Its mobile-phone service began in 2003, when MTV started working with a Belgian telecom operator, and has since expanded to six countries in Europe. While mobile operators handle the back-end and billing for the mobile phone service, MTV lends its name and helps market it in exchange for a licensing fee and revenue share.
As for the app, it streams episodes to mobile phones or pairs web browsers to play shows on a larger computer or tablet screen. Alongside the content, the app also houses live chat for social viewing.