Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

MTV Finally Brings Its Shows to Your iPhone and iPad

mtv app

Do you still want your MTV? And, if so, do you want it on your iPhone or iPad?

Then here you go. This is the second “TV Everywhere” app from corporate owner Viacom, following on the heels of a Nickelodeon app it launched this spring.

Like the Nick app, the free MTV app will let some pay TV subscribers watch some of the channel’s shows for free. And, like the Nick app, there are extra goodies, too.

In MTV’s case, there is a set of “second screen” features, like Twitter filters, that you’re supposed to use while watching MTV broadcasts on your TV. And a bunch of non-TV content, produced by something MTV is calling its “connected content lab.”

On deck: Versions that will work on Android, and later Xbox 360, as well as more apps for other MTV/Viacom channels, like VH1 and CMT.

The most important thing to note is that this is another small step from promise to reality in the evolution of “TV Everywhere.” The promise, recall, is that people who pay for cable TV (or satellite TV, or telco TV) should be able to watch TV shows on any device they want, whenever they want.

We’re still a long way from that because of a mix of contractual, business and tech issues. And even moves like this are only partial steps. MTV/Viacom says that about 50 million pay TV customers will have access to the programming on its apps. But subscribers to at least three different major pay services — Comcast, Dish and Charter — won’t be able to watch the shows (for now).

And even if you have a pay channel that does have a deal with Viacom, you won’t be able to see everything the channel has put out. Remember that it has different “windows” of content with other distributors — like Amazon — which means that different outlets will have different catalogs at different times.

Meanwhile! The extra video goodies that MTV has added in here are kinda fun. MTV is branding a group of them as “MTV Other,” which in my mind reads as “You think ‘Vice’ is cool? Well look at this raunchy stuff we would totally put on TV if the TV guys weren’t such squares.”

Here’s a sample, which you won’t want to look at if you don’t like swearing, or unpleasant use cases for hot dogs. (On the other hand, if you’re a fan of Minnesota’s own Har Mar Superstar, you should definitely watch.)


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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo