I Want My MTV2, Broseph!

A month after MTV excised the “music television” tag from its iconic logo, spinoff network MTV2 is doing some tinkering of its own, prepping a refreshed on-air look and an expanded programming slate designed to draw a bigger crowd of young male viewers.

MTV2 on March 15 will graft “Man’s Best Friend” to its existent two-headed dog logo, a tag that more explicitly communicates the channel’s “bro”na fides. Along with the verbal cue, the net has developed a stark black-and-white palette enhanced by singular grace notes of color, which in turn correspond to individual programming genres. (For example, all on-air branding associated with the “Rock ‘N’ Jock Saturdays” block will be highlighted by a splash of pink, while MTV2 will spruce up “Sucker Free Sundays” with a light blue tint.)

Introduced during MTV2’s comprehensive 2005 re-branding effort, the twinned heads of the dog logo represent the net’s two guiding principles (rock and hip hop). While that still holds true today, MTV2 is expanding beyond the music, adding curios like Lucha Libre, an Anglicized take on the Mexican wrestling phenomenon; the raunchy U.K. puppet farce Fur TV; and an as-yet untitled sport scores and highlights show.

As MTV2 adds new flavors to its programming stew, it hopes to spice up its client relationships as well. “We haven’t had much to shout about on the channel for a while,” said Dan Lovinger, senior vp, MTV 360 ad sales and integrated marketing. “We’re exploring new forms of customization and collaboration with some people who may have seen MTV2 as an add-on. This really ramps up the consideration set.”

MTV2’s value is wrapped up in its concentration of young male viewers. While the net closed out 2009 as the 60th most-watched basic cable channel, averaging 152,000 viewers in prime time, 34 percent (51,000) were members of the core men 12-24 demo. By comparison, nets with greater reach like ESPN2 and AMC last year delivered 52,000 men 12-24. Per SNL Kagan data, MTV2 took in $55.4 million in net ad revenue last year, down 5 percent from ’08.

In addition to endemic categories (video-games, movies and fast food), Lovinger is looking to add more auto dollars to the mix. “That’s a place we could be doing more business, with the manufacturers and aftermarket,” Lovinger said.