Well, it’s official; MTV hasn’t had music videos for a long time (the line that “MTV doesn’t have music videos” went from trenchant observation to over-used cliche years ago), and now they have redesigned their logo to drop the “Music Television” tag. They are just another network whose acronym no longer stands for anything, the way The Nashville Network became TNN and finally changed its name to Spike TV or whatever they are now. Whether MTV will fee the need to give itself a new name depends on whether they continue to do well; if they ever need to rebrand again, the MTV name will go and be replaced by something else.
MTV’s rebranding has been, generally, a success, at least commercially. They don’t have music videos, and they don’t have the genuinely good scripted shows they used to have; but they do have a genuinely identifiable brand. Apart from being a network for young-skewing reality shows, some of which are addictively trashy (Jersey Shore, most obviously), they are still sort of a music network, in the sense that their shows tend to be saturated in music, played in the background or over montages. They’ve managed to survive into the YouTube era (which would have killed off their music-video format if it had still existed) by presenting shows that are like a mash-up of everything their viewers are interested in; they’ve made themselves over for the era of remixes and multi-media projects.
Still, let’s face it; for many of us, MTV still means this: