MTV UK Tries Charging For Online Catch-Up TV

If you thought that pay-per-view online catch-up TV had been replaced by the free, ad-supported model, think again – MTV has launched a dedicated UK VOD portal, MTV OD, costing £1 ($1.61) a day or £2 ($3.24) a week.

Twenty-six shows include Jackass, Jersey Shore and The City. Payment is via SMS and, soon PayPal and debit card.

There’s one big way this may prove unsuccessful – the kids who watch this stuff can already get it in high rotation on the subscription TV services their parents pay for.

In the U.S., viewers can catch up with full MTV episodes on for free.

The UK’s first online catch-up TV service, Channel 4’s 4oD, launched in 2006 demanding payments for programmes; Five’s Demand Five soon followed. But both have now abandoned the model for ad-funded free shows, mirroring their TV model.

But, at last week’s Digital Content Monetisation Europe conference, MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) International’s digital SVP Philip O’Ferrall suggested MTV’s online programming should be paid for just as it is on TV: “We operate primarily in a pay-for environment. Anything more than a promotional clip, I would expect that to be charged for. Therefore, we have partnerships with (services like) Canal +. We provide that content to them to monetise on our behalf on whatever platforms they may own.”

Charging viewers directly, rather than at the wholesale level, is a new ballgame and, if you consider future IPTV options, could mean broadcasters like MTV taking their payments independently rather than through pay-TV platforms like BSkyB.

ITV (LSE: ITV), too, is looking at augmenting its free ITV Player with more online programming paid for by viewers.