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DVD Buyers Want Their MTV

15 Feb, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

"Laguna Beach's" first-season set hit No. 6 on DVD sales charts its debut week.

Pop-culture purveyor MTV has long been about more than just music television. Now the hippest cable network is heating up TV DVD.

MTV experienced the best ratings in the network's history in 2005, Viacom CEO Tom Freston told investors last week. He also announced that MTV distributor Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment last year saw a more than 4% jump in market share in the TV DVD market, that's 16.7% from 12.1%.

A major driver of that increase, according to MTV/Paramount parent company Viacom, was the real-life adventures of a group of privileged twentysomethings frolicking, surfing and living it up on MTV's “Laguna Beach.”

Laguna Beach: The Complete First Season hit DVD last July with a bang, debuting at No. 6 on Nielsen VideoScan's top DVD sellers chart. Less than a month later, the set was No. 14 on the top 20 TV DVD sellers list for the first half of the year.

Freston singled out “Laguna Beach” as an example of Viacom's multiplatform capabilities. Soon after an episode airs, free and pay download video-on-demand and mobile phone content are available at MTV.com,

as well as interviews, extended episode footage, streaming radio, music downloads, quizzes, trivia message boards and more. And everywhere are promotions reminding addicts that season one as well as other MTV series are ready and waiting on DVD.

It was in 2005 that MTV really became a force in film production, VOD, wireless, game and DVD content delivery, Viacom execs said.

MTV and Paramount are creating synergy between the channel's programming and the DVD releases to tap into MTV's active audience.

The cabler's animated Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection Vol. 1 outperformed expectations on DVD, hitting No. 6 in its first week. Jackass: The Boxed Set thrilled fans of the raucous boys-gone-wild series, while its offspring “Viva La Bam” enjoyed continued sales with the release of its second double-volume set. The box office release of the Charlize Theron starrer Aeon Flux sparked interest in the animated MTV series on which the feature film was based. It was released in a DVD set in November.

“We had a great year last year,” said Jeff Yapp, EVP of program enterprises for MTV, MTV2, MTV U, VH1, CMT and Logo.

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