MTVN Done Moving Execs

MTV Networks Group has finally put all of its executives’ chairs in order after naming longtime company executives Christina Norman and Tom Calderone to head MTV: Music Television and VH1, respectively.

The two announcements all but complete the restructuring of the MTV Networks Group after former MTV Networks president Tom Freston ascended to the position of Viacom Inc. co-president nearly a year ago. In turn, Freston selected then-MTV Group president Judy McGrath to succeed him as head of MTVN, a move which prompted Mark Rosenthal, MTVN president and chief operating officer, to resign.


Last Thursday, the day after Norman and Calderone were promoted, Rosenthal was named president and COO of media agency holding firm the Interpublic Group of Cos.

Norman who had been in charge of VH1 since 2002, will now oversee and direct business development, research, marketing and promotion, finance, communications and human resources for MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Español, MTV Hits and MTV Jams. She reports to MTV Music Group president and former MTV president Van Toffler.

Toffler says Norman will spearhead the network’s move toward a multi-platformed music service that will serve the needs of technology-driven youth. “Christina will be immensely helpful at pushing MTV to make the transformation into the digital arena from a simple TV-centric model to a content multiplatform-centric model.”

Calderone, who most recently served as executive vice president of music and talent programming for MTV and MTV2, will now be charged with the day-to-day leadership, strategy and management of the music/pop culture channel, as well as digital services VH1 Classic and VH1 Soul and Web site Calderone inherits a network that has been on a ratings streak. In first quarter 2005, the network posted a 20% increase to a 0.6 household rating in primetime. Toffler said Calderone will be charged with continuing the network’s success, and “achieving more clarity around the positioning and branding around VH1 and its much position and making its events bigger and grander.”


Toffler also said MTV is talking to operators about creating new on-demand services providing instant access to songs and music videos that provide its target audience music how and when they want it.

“The audience has dictated that music needs to live on multiple platforms and they want to access it when and how they want in linear and non-linear ways,” he said. “We as a group need to figure out how to be symbiotic with the record labels and giving the audience want they want in all of these different platforms.”


Rosenthal will now lead agency executives sitting on the other side of the negotiating table from Viacom. In his new post, Rosenthal will oversee all of Interpublic’s worldwide media operations, including Initiative, MAGNA Global, Universal and a number of leading specialist media agencies.

In addition to an array of media services, those shops offer clients programming and content-development capabilities, as well as functioning in the realms of interactive, retail and media barter.

Rosenthal was MTVN president and COO from 1996 to 2004. During his tenure, IPG said, MTVN’s revenue and earnings from the company’s operations more than tripled. He also led the restructuring of one of the cable industry’s largest advertising-sales groups.

His appointment followed Interpublic’s loss of General Motors Corp.’s $3.2 billion media account in the United States to Starcom MediaVest Group’s GM Planworks. It was the latest in a series of account defections for Interpublic.