MTV Pinoy set to launch this coming January 30.

The familiar logo will be staring at you from the screen but the program comes with a decidedly different feel. MTV is back, slightly rebranded as MTV Pinoy from MTV Philippines. Rene Esguerra, Country Manager for the Philippines, tells Bulletin Entertainment, “It’s a collaboration between Viacom (parent company of MTV in Asia) and Viva (Communications, Inc.), coming up with a Pinoy music channel, which, basically, is still MTV but more skewed to appeal to the Filipino youth.”

Before you moan and decry the music of your own youth, think about this: Any true child of MTV – those weaned on Michael Jackson videos-cum-short films, those weird but iconic images from hair metal bands, the loopy dancing from big-haired pop artists, morose new wave bands in heavy eyeliner and the likes – know that pop culture changes with the times. Jon Bon Jovi cut his hair and stopped wearing those earrings, didn’t he? Even Hannah Montana learned to drop her inhibitions – and her pants!


Conversely, the music also changes and so does people’s taste in entertainment. The repositioned “youth channel” would be slightly removed from the time of Mark Knopfler singing “money for nothing and the chicks for free” and Sting petulantly chiming in, “I want my MTV” in the background. Ah, those days. We really did want our MTV.

MTV Pinoy will broadcast on a dedicated Philippine feed, carrying with it programs produced by Viva. Indra Suharjono, MTV Asia’s EVP and managing director, notes, “We will be part global and part local.”

So what if you see Viva artists Sarah Geronimo and Anne Curtis telling you to watch your MTV? You will still get your instantly gratifying share of Miley Cyrus twerking if that tickles your fancy. Skipping the specifics, it only means that MTV Pinoy’s programming is now meant to be as responsive as possible. For that, we have social media to thank.

Suharjono shared that the Millennial Study about the youth around the world “showed that because of social media, (they) are more connected than before. So if Miley Cyrus did twerking at the Video Music Awards (VMAs), someone in the Philippines knows it and they want to see it, right?”

Responding to this “on demand” kind of viewer consumption may be costly in the past – “It is expensive to bring live feed (from the US) into Asia,” Suharjono relates – but today’s technology allows for same-day viewing of shows like the VMA across the globe. With the global broadcasting aspect taken care of, Suharjono says they will also put their focus on other content, especially since kids still like to consume local music.

“Philippines is one of the markets within Southeast Asia that I’ve felt has got the strongest local music scene,” Suharjono observes, noting not just fan support for local acts but also the number of recent breakout Pinoy artists like Charice and Arnel Pineda. Marrying the power of television as a platform for artists and mining the Internet as a great marketing tool and a way to discover new talents, the people behind MTV have the blueprint to build the channel anew, aided by advances in technology utilized like it has never been before.

The feed begins on Jan. 31 but here’s what MTV Pinoy intends to do:

Local Shows For Local Taste
Esguerra initially names planned shows like MTV Senti, which will showcase a collection of Filipino love songs, and MTV Halo-Halo. He notes that the local flavor “would really appeal to the youth.” They are even developing something called “Selfie Kabayan,” apparently “an opportunity for everybody to send in their selfies or their videos,” Esguerra shares. They are also looking into bringing in shows like “Awkward,” “Catfish,” and others “with a social responsibility angle (that) educates the youth,” adds Tan Chee Kiat, MTV Asia’s Chief Operating Officer.

Stay A Network-agnostic Channel
We all know about the network wars that put celebrities on either side of the invisible divide. In the same way, there are record labels that exclusively sign artists to their rosters. Esguerra explains the wisdom of doing a tie-up with Viva, noting how the company has “always taken pride in being agnostic.” Whether signed artists or indie, whether one is tied to a certain network, MTV Pinoy welcomes all.

MTV Pinoy Djs
VJs And Road Shows
MTV Pinoy aims to make their presence felt in different campuses with the intention of discovering new talents and possibly look for VJs. Already, MTV Pinoy has named four VJs: Josh Padilla, GMA talents Sam Pinto and Yassi Pressman, and Andre Paras, son of basketball great Benjie Paras.

Pushing P-Pop
K-pop burst from Korea to conquer the US. J-pop has also been successful in that regard. Pinoys have always dreamed of making it abroad, and MTV Pinoy might be the springboard for that full on P-pop invasion. A thought that thrilled Suharjono when we broached the topic, the MTV Pinoy officers agree it is a good direction to take: Hone world-class acts without giving up what makes the Filipinos unique, foreign influences notwithstanding. “Let’s come up with our own identity. P-Pop can start with MTV,” Esguerra declares.

Still want your MTV?

For the first few months MTV Pinoy will only take up 3.5 hours of MTV Asia’s programming. MTVAsia/MTV Pinoy airs on Dream Ch. 9, SkyCable Ch. 71, Parasat Ch. 26; and on MTV Live – Cignal Ch. 103 and SkyCable Ch. 190.

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