Canadian TV station Much, known for three decades as MuchMusic, essentially the nation's MTV, has announced it is cutting its video play to an hour each day. This follows the 2013 decision to drop "Music" from the brand's name.
"Music remains a key element of the Much brand," said Scott Henderson, vp of communication at Much parent Bell Media, in comments to Billboard. "However, due to ongoing and significant erosion of linear audiences watching music videos, specifically in favour of digital platforms, the channel has now refocused video flow over the popular lunch hour, with Much Retro Lunch from 1-2 p.m."
Most recently, videos aired in the morning from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. The problem, Henderson explained, is that few people were watching.
"Video play on Much comprised nearly 30 percent of the programming with only 4 percent of the audience," said Henderson, citing, for example the show Playlist, on weekday mornings, which "attracted less than 4,000 viewers on average."
Henderson told Billboard that Much and Bell Media "remain committed to original music programming. The channels produce the annual iHeartRadio MMVAs (originally started in 1990 as the Canadian Music Video Awards, then known from 1996 to 2015 as the MuchMusic Video Awards); the singer search The Launch, now in its second season; and concert specials like Neil Young's Hometown.
He said since Much doesn't play as many music videos -- and dropped the MuchMusic Video Awards title last year -- the iHeartRadio MMVAs now puts the focus on iHeartRadio, "our main music brand."
"Over the last few years, it's evolved into a straight-ahead music awards show. Last year only a few of the categories were video-based. For those, no change to the process -- an internal committee determines the nominees and award winners."