MTV UK’s launching five podcast series tied to popular shows

MTV UK is launching this year five podcast series that will be tied to its most popular shows.  

The first of the new series, “Celebrity Ex on the Beach: The Podcast” debuted this week. Each of the five podcast series will be conversational in tone, have at least 12 episodes and will cover themes from the TV shows. The podcasts will be distributed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Global Player. MTV is partnering with Dax, Global’s digital audio ad exchange for podcast distribution and programmatic ad sales. MTV UK is the first ViacomCBS International outlet to receive the podcast treatment because it has the largest social media footprint.

“This is in response to the rapid digitization of our fan base across all our brands,” said Dan Fahy, vice president of commercial and content distribution at ViacomCBS. “MTV [especially] has an audience that is rapidly digitizing and heavily reliant on social platforms for their content.”

In December MTV UK attracted 70 million monthly video views on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, according to Tubular Labs data. Show franchises are also popular. Reality show “Geordie Shore” has 1.8 million followers and scored 4.4 million video views in December on Instagram, according to Tubular Labs.

The demographic breakdown for MTV’s audiences is primarily people ages 16 to 35; and MTV has identified particular subsegments of that audience. When it comes to “the 16-24-year-old demographic — they have a real craving for authenticity,” Fahy said. “Podcasts have that personal appeal.”

For the past year ViacomCBS International executives have been thinking in earnest about launching podcasts. ViacomCBS International is also working out how to tie podcasts to its other brands, such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Channel 5, Fahy said.

In addition to the popularity of the daily news show format, one of the fastest growing trends in podcasts is the creation of TV companion podcasts, said Sam Shetabi, Acast’s content director for the U.K. and Ireland. Podcast network Acast hosts the official podcast for the reality TV show “Made in Chelsea.”

“Companion shows are proving so popular because they supplement the classic water cooler discussions that every form of media wants to muscle in on, by letting fans further immerse themselves,” Shetabi said. “Many [podcasts] have audience interaction built in, which again makes them feel more like a conversation than a broadcast.”

MTV UK is using Dax for podcast distribution and programmatic ad sales means that MTV can monetize the series by selling brand partnerships and host-read ads as well as spot ads within the shows.

The links between TV and podcast series run both ways. Podcasts are a cheaper and quicker way of building audiences and testing narratives for shows. The popular Wondery true-crime podcast series “Dirty John,” which attracted 10 million downloads in the first six weeks, was turned into a video series that was released on Netflix in 2019.

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