MTV Germany will only be available via pay-TV from Jan. 1, 2011. MTV Networks Germany's channel will shift from free-to-air access to all major German operators' digital subscription packages.

The sister music channel VIVA will remain on free TV, along with Nickelodeon/Comedy Central, which share a channel in Germany.

"We believe that a multi-national media company like MTV Networks with a diverse portfolio of specialized brands should provide a strategic mix of ad-financed and subscription-based TV offers, through which we can distribute our popular content to our audiences", said Dan Ligtvoet, EVP General manager MTV Networks Germany and managing director MTV Networks North, in a statement. "This will reinforce MTV Networks Germany's position as a provider of specialized multi-platform content and allow us to sustainably grow our business in the long term."

The move is in contrast to the Spanish MTV channel, which went free-to-air last month with the aim of building its 300,000 audience to between 1.5 and 2 million viewers within a year.

MTV and VIVA are the leading music TV brands in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

MTV Networks hopes to boost ratings for VIVA in the key 14-29 demographic from around 1.8% now to 2.5% next year and 3% beyond that. That would then make up for much of the advertising revenue lost by shifting MTV Deutschland over to pay.

MTV Networks Germany will also launch a new German music channel, said Ligtvoet.

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