MTV's Ill-Fated Web Experiment Iggy to Shutter
MTV has had a tough 2015, enduring dropping ratings, layoffs of more than 200 staffers and the exits of several prominent executives (among them: Van Toffler, formerly president of MTV Networks Music and Logo Group, and Dave Sirulnik, executive vp news, documentaries and specials). Now, multiple sources tell Billboard that MTV Iggy, a division of MTV World, will be closing its doors in early September.
Launched in 2012 as an online hub for global music and trends, the site was headed by Nusrat Durrani, senior vp/GM of MTV World, who said that Iggy would serve as an "entry point for emerging [international] brands." It employed a handful of MTV staffers and about 15 freelance contributors.
But onlookers contend that the content lacked cohesiveness and a vision. Says one executive working in the international realm: "It was all over the place." Adds an insider: "Iggy was kind of isolated and left alone, but things have changed, and that laboratory model doesn't really work here anymore."
MTV's editorial initiatives have gradually waned, with the network shutting down several blogs in recent years, including the indie-centric Hive But programming hasn't fared much better.
Primetime shows for its summer season reached about 40 percent fewer viewers in the 12-to-34 target demo than it did five years ago, according to Nielsen. And in July, president of programming Susanne Daniels left MTV to join YouTube in the newly created role of vice president of YouTube Original. Daniels was instrumental in launching such shows as Finding Carter, Faking It, Scream and the forthcoming Shannara Chronicles, due in early 2016.
News of Iggy's demise arrives just ahead of MTV's Video Music Awards, scheduled for Aug. 30 at Los Angeles' Microsoft Theater. A rep for the network tells Billboard, "The company declines to comment on rumors."
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 5 issue of Billboard.