Television may soon regain its place as a social linchpin—at least for those in MTV's youth demographic. Gone (for the most part) are the days when family members would gather around a television set to watch and comment on programming, but with a new product being offered across the pond by Viacom's MTV and digital agency AKQA, this kind of sharing experience will have a new home on mobile device screens, rather than the living room couch.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, MTV and AKQA today debuted "MTV Under the Thumb," a social sharing tool that will allow users to view MTV network content on their mobile devices, tap distant friends to view it with them, and dialogue with these friends via a built-in live chat app, said Ben Jones, director of technology for AKQA in Europe. Another feature allows users to hook their mobile devices up to a Web browser for larger-screen viewing, in which case a phone would act as a remote control.
The service will come with different levels of access. Some limited content will be offered to users free of charge—these users will have to watch pre-rolls before viewing content—while two other subscription levels allow for more access and fewer ads. Michel Dupont, svp of mobile for MTV North & International, told Adweek that while the platform allows for a "discreet" logo ad to also be served in the upper right corner of the app display, his main priority in launching the app is current customer satisfaction.