URGE unites powerful music DNA of MTV, VH1 and CMT with Microsoft’s industry-leading technology and consumer reach to deliver an immersive entertainment experience.
NEW YORK and REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 13, 2005 — MTV Networks, a division of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), and Microsoft Corp. today announced that they have collaborated on the design and development of MTV Networks’ forthcoming digital music service called URGE. Set to debut in 2006, URGE will provide an immersive music experience and will be integrated into a forthcoming version of the Microsoft® Windows Media® Player. The collaboration unites MTV Networks’ music DNA, marketing strengths and powerful MTV, VH1 and CMT brands with the technology leadership and consumer reach of Microsoft.
URGE will offer rich entertainment programming and innovative tools designed to guide musical discovery and connect fans to the artists and music they love. Offering more than 2 million songs from the major labels and thousands of independents, URGE will encompass all musical genres, from alt-country to zydeco. In addition to a broad catalogue of music choices, URGE will deliver a deep well of exclusive MTV Networks programming and original, hand-crafted content.
URGE has garnered early support from Clive Davis, North America chairman and CEO of Sony BMG; Lyor Cohen, chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group; and musical superstars Alicia Keys, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Gretchen Wilson.
“We live to connect artists and fans in the most imaginative ways possible,” said Van Toffler, MTV Networks’ Music Group president. “With our new service, we will be able to satisfy music lovers’ urges for all things music. In many ways, URGE will serve as a ‘psychic concierge,’ introducing fans to new artists and helping them to develop a deeper connection to old favorites.”
“By combining our expertise in digital media with the music leadership and marketing savvy of MTV Networks, we have created a powerful and unique way to experience music,” said Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media/Entertainment and Technology Convergence Group at Microsoft. “This landmark collaboration will bring innovative new experiences to millions of music fans.”
“As with everything we do at MTV Networks, every element of URGE will be developed with our audience in mind,” said Jason Hirschhorn, MTV Networks’ chief digital officer. “Beyond providing a simple transactional service, URGE will provide a musical playground where fans can experiment, customize, discover and download new music.”
Upon its debut next year, URGE will be promoted through multiple venues, including the MTV, VH1 and CMT channels, which on average collectively reach more than 165 million U.S. viewers, as well as through the respective brands’ Web sites and URGE.com. Additional details of the new service will be unveiled in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
About MTV Networks
MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom International Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with 100 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services — MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these networks are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 80 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.