MTV is an American television channel owned by Viacom headquartered in New York City. Pointedly, the first music video shown on MTV was The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”, on Saturday, August 1, 1981.
MTV’s effect was immediate – within two months, record stores in areas where MTV was available were selling music that local radio stations were not playing, such as Men at Work, and the Human League.
The original purpose of MTV was to be “music television”, playing music videos 24 hours a day, guided by on-air personalities known as VJs, or video jockeys. Music videos were effectively advertising for the underlying music – and MTV served as a rare example of a platform where viewers effectively paid to watch advertising.
Currently, MTV has toned down its music video programming significantly, and it now consists mainly of original reality and comedy programming with limited music videos aired in off-peak time periods.
Its ratings had been said to be failing systematically, as younger viewers increasingly shift towards other media platforms. This begs the question – will Streaming Kill The Video Star?