MTV its to shift most of its broadcasting operations out of Australia in a move which will see the iconic brand leave little more than an advertising and marketing presence on the ground locally.
The move sees most functions of the network based in London. According to a statement from MTV: “Departments with roles being centralised include programming, production, creative, production management, research, operations and acquisitions.”
MTV’s NZ operations had also previously been run of the the brand’s East Sydney base.
Comedy Central is also affected by the withdrawal by parent company Viacom which describes the move as “leveraging its international infrastructure”.
The move marks yet another scaling back of what had been a major local media player. Viacom’s Australian operation has long been troubled financially with a previous round of redundancies in 2011. In 2010, 23 staff in NZ were removed with the Australian and NZ MTV websites later being merged.
For several years MTV Australia ran a large local version of the MTV Awards but these were dropped for financial reasons at around the time of the GFC.
The amount of local programming on MTV, which is owned by Viacom, has also gradual declined in recent years as the network has moved away from its music roots to reality programming.
The number of MTV channels available in Australia has also fallen away, leaving Foxtel’s music channels such as V to dominate.
Parent company Viacom says that around 15 people will be made redundant as a result of the move. Mumbrella understands that most staff were given the news of the shift today.
In a brief statement the company said:
“Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is leveraging its international infrastructure and streamlining certain aspects of its Australian and New Zealand business.
“VIMN is currently in the final stages of centralizing broadcast operation functions for AU/NZ, and today entered into an employee consultation process to centralise MTV and Comedy Central editorial functions out of London. Departments with roles being centralised include programming, production, creative, production management, research, operations and acquisitions.
“VIMN employs approximately 100 people across its entire operation in Australia. We anticipate this exercise will impact less than 15% of our employee base.”
The company said it would continue to employ sales, marketing and talent/artist management staff in Australia.
MTV first launched as a brand in Australia nearly 30 years ago, as part of a late night music program hosted by Richard Wilkins on Nine.
MTV Australia officially launched as a music channel in its own right on Optus Television in 1997.
The MTV and Comedy Central sales operation is run by sales house Ignite Media Brands which was formed out of the merger of MTV’s sales force and Full Circle in 2010.
Children’s channel Nickelodeon, also operated by Viacom, was not included in today’s announcement.
Tim Burrowes and Nic Christensen