MTV Logo 2010.svg
CountryUnited States
HeadquartersOne Astor Plaza, 1515 Broadway, Times Square, Manhattan, New York
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
OwnerWarner Communications (1981–1985; 50%)
American Express (1981–1985; 50%)
Viacom (1985–2006, 2005–2019)
ViacomCBS (2019–present)
(National Amusements (1985–present))
ParentMTV Entertainment Group (1996–present)
(Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment (1981–1985)
MTV Networks (1985–2011)
Viacom Media Networks (2011–2019)
ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks (2019–present))
Key peopleBob Bakish (CEO)
Sister channels
LaunchedAugust 1, 1981 (1981-08-01)
Former names
  • Sight on Sound (1977–1981)
  • MTV: Music Television (1981–2010)[1]
Available on most cable providersChannel slots vary on each service
Dish NetworkChannel 160 (HD/SD)
  • Channel 331 (East; HD/SD)
  • Channel 331-1 (West; HD)
DirecTV CaribbeanChannel 260
Verizon FiosChannel 210 (SD)
Channel 710 (HD)
AT&T U-verseChannel 502 (SD)
Channel 1502 (HD)

MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel that launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of the MTV Entertainment Group, part of ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, a division of ViacomCBS.[2] Prior to launch, the network was first tested on December 1, 1977, as Sight on Sound.

The channel originally aired music videos and related programming as guided by television personalities known as video jockeys or 'VJs'.[3] In the years since its inception, it significantly toned down its focus on music in favor of original reality programming for teenagers and young adults.

MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the US and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have gone independent. Approximately 90.6 million American households in the United States received MTV as of January 2016.[4]

  1. ^ "MTV drops 'Music Television' from the network logo". Los Angeles Times. February 8, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  2. ^ "". August 1, 1981. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  3. ^ "CNN – MTV changed the music industry on August 1, 1981 – July 31, 1998". Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "Cable Network Coverage Area Household Universe Estimates: January 2016".