MTV is a cable television channel in the United States that began broadcasting on August 1, 1981. It is the flagship product of the MTV Entertainment Group, which is a division of ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks. It is based in New York City.
The station, which was managed by television personalities known as video jockeys, was the first to broadcast music videos and related programs. It has switched its focus away from music and toward original reality programming for teens and young adults since its inception.
In the 1960s, the idea of music television was originally mooted. The Beatles began using music videos to promote their albums in the mid-1960s. Their performance of the song “Can’t Buy Me Love” in the 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night prompted MTV to award director Richard Lester an award for ‘basically inventing the music video.’
Charlatan Productions, based in Los Angeles, began producing promotional movies for rock bands in 1967, employing a unique process that entails generating novel plots and inventive circumstances to match specific songs. Peter Gardiner and Allen Daviau, who were both working as special effects producers on the film The Trip at the time, established Charlatan.
Tom Rounds, the former program director of the San Francisco Top 40 radio station KFRC, was hired as the new president of Charlatan in 1967. Under Rounds’ guidance and on behalf of record companies, Charlatan developed short, music song-length promo videos, which were subsequently transmitted on videotape to TV stations across the country.
By the middle of 1968, Jimi Hendrix, The Animals, Steppenwolf, Aretha Franklin, Richie Havens, The Who, The Rascals, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Connie Francis, The Cowsills, and Ricky Nelson had completed forty films for fifteen record labels.
In 1974, Gary Van Haas, vice president of Televak Corporation, developed Music Video TV, a channel that broadcasts in record stores around the country and included video disc jockeys.
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