NEW YORK and SAN JOSE, Calif. - May 14, 2007 - mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network, and Cisco®, the worldwide leader in networking technology, today unveiled the second-annual mtvU "Digital Incubator" development team - five student groups funded with up to $30,000 in grant money each and offered a national platform to pioneer the next generation of digital applications and content. Digital Incubator 2.0 builds on the program's successful pilot year and breathes life into a fresh batch of new media mash-ups, combining elements of social networking, mobile or "big" games, online interactivity, affinity-based websites and short-form broadband programming.
In an added twist, this year's grant recipients will have the opportunity to submit a detailed business plan and pitch MTV and Cisco executives for a supplemental grant of up to $100,000. All of the teams will again have access to everything necessary to launch a successful online business: the creative firepower and reach of mtvU, the tech expertise of Cisco, and the financial backing to see their idea realized - all while still in college.
Additionally, today MTV Networks announces that it has licensed "Hit! or Sh!t," a Web-based social networking media player designed to build affinity groups around similar tastes in digital content. The application was developed by David Jimison and Jeff Crouse, students at Georgia Tech University, and was one of the greenlighted projects from the first Digital Incubator season. With "Hit! or Sh!t," users create a profile, log their friends' contact info and are fed a series of short media clips. A clip ranked a "Hit" is passed onto friends; other media is dropped from the rotation. The licensing of the application is an important milestone for the Digital Incubator program, which was designed to serve as a development pipeline for all of MTV Networks, offer Cisco insight into the digital trends of tomorrow and provide college students with unique opportunities to launch their careers.
"College students are the pioneers of tomorrow's digital landscape and this program was designed to both galvanize and tap their creative spirit," said Stephen Friedman, GM, mtvU. "For the second year in a row, we're completely blown away by the groundbreaking digital ideas germinating on college campuses - which will be at the core of our multi-platform programming for the next year - and we're proud to offer these student teams the visibility and resources to launch their careers."
"Innovation in media is coming from the next generation of leaders in colleges today," said Dan Scheinman, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Media Solutions Group. "We are honored to be associated with the Digital Incubator program and these student teams developing new media platforms and venues for story telling. We believe opportunities like these help all of us find new markets and reveal how community will be the catalyst in shaping the new media experience."
"The 'Hit! or Sh!t' application will allow our fan base to consume music in a rapid-fire way and distill their musical preferences based on personal taste and friend's recommendations," said Jeff Yapp, EVP Program Enterprises, MTV Networks Music Group. "Across the MTV Networks Music Group, we are focused on creating a strong online foundation for artist discovery; this software will foster a deeper connection between our consumers and artists and help facilitate music sharing within communities."
Greenlighted Digital Incubator 2.0 programs
Selectricity - M.I.T.: An online communal ranking technology that focuses on preferential decision-making - shifting away from a winner-take-all paradigm to a more democratic standard. Using a drag-and-drop mechanism, users rank choices in order of preference and the Selectricity application generates a winner that is most acceptable to the group as a whole.
Casablanca - New York University: An online and mobile phone-based ice-breaker party game that combines elements of social networking and alternative reality gaming. Players are tasked with building or infiltrating real-world and virtual communities, where everyone's "allegiance" is unknown.
RapHappy - New York University: An online hip hop destination where users can record, collaborate on, search and listen to freestyle or written raps. The site will encourage user interaction and collaboration, enabling users to form groups, start battles or rate/comment on the sites' submissions.
Osiris - Brown University: A first-of-its-kind MP3 visualizer that uses song lyrics to automatically generate music videos using images pulled from Flickr and pictures on the user's hard drive.
How Do I Say This? - UCLA: One of the greenlighted Digital Incubator programs from last year, and a 2007 SXSW Web Award-winner, "How Do I Say This?" will return bigger than ever in its second season. The site is an interactive, Web-based advice Wiki, where users help script and create video messages for people with problems that have left them at a loss for words.
mtvU recently surprised the second season Digital Incubator teams with news they'd won and today premiered a special episode with their reactions on mtvU and mtvU.com. To see the special on-demand, learn more about each program, or check out the first season Digital Incubators, click here.
The Digital Incubator initiative was developed jointly by mtvU and Cisco. The greenlighted Digital Incubator 2.0 programs represent the best and most innovative ideas received in response to a call for submissions issued last year looking for new media games, applications, programming or any kind of original content that would thrive in the digital world. The 2nd season Digital Incubator projects will premiere in September and be an integral part of mtvU's on-air, online, on campus and wireless programming for the full 2007-2008 academic year.
Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco Media Solutions Group (CMSG) is a Cisco business unit launched in December 2006 to develop infrastructure products that help digital-media content owners improve consumers' experience by making it easier for them to connect with relevant content. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.
Broadcasting to 750 colleges across the country, with a combined enrollment of over 7.2 million, mtvU is the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are, through a three pronged approach - on-air, online and on campus. mtvU focuses on content including music videos from emerging artists which can't be seen anywhere else, news, student life features, events and pro-social initiatives. mtvU is always on campus, with more than 500 events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. For more information about mtvU, and for a complete programming schedule, visit www.mtvU.com.
In September 2005, mtvU became the first MTV Networks channel to also be distributed in its entirety online. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU is simulcast and available on demand at mtvU.com, featuring all of network's on-air content plus exclusive new music, original series and student-produced programming for college students and music fans everywhere.
mtvU also owns and operates the College Media Network, the largest interactive network of online college newspapers in the US, and RateMyProfessors.com, the Internet's largest listing of collegiate professor ratings. The College Media Network comprises over 510 campus publications that serve institutions including Brown University, the University of Illinois, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin and Duke University, with a combined enrollment of over 5.5 million students, reaching an average of 5 million unique users each month. RateMyProfessors.com reaches approximately 10 million college students each year, via the site's more than 6.6 million student-generated ratings of over 1,000,000 college professors.
MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with 135 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services - MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN/THE N, VH1 CLASSIC, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these networks trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 200 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.
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