MTV.com announced a new homepage design Tuesday that focuses more on content, rather than aesthetic changes. It will launch Wednesday morning.
MTV.com's basic color scheme will remain the same. The navigation at the top of the site will also remain unchanged. Even the prominent promotional box toward the top of the page, which MTV calls "The Marquee," will maintain its position on the new home page.
The biggest change made to MTV.com comes in the form of a new module, called The Daily Fresh. Placed just below The Marquee, The Daily Fresh will feature content MTV grabs from both its own pages and third-party sites.
The Daily Fresh is basically a news feed. As MTV.com's editorial staff creates more content, the best stories will be hand-picked by MTV editors and placed in the feed. Those same editors will also place user-generated content that relates to one of the company's television shows, music videos, or news stories into the module. To accommodate those site visitors who want content outside of what MTV provides, The Daily Fresh will feature articles or videos its editors find from other sites across the Web. Eventually, MTV.com plans to feature a "submit" link to give site owners the opportunity to have their content featured on the music site.
The Daily Fresh underscores what is a slightly modified strategy for MTV. Instead of being a place for visitors to check out music news and the latest music videos, MTV wants to make MTV.com a hub for all the other online content MTV Networks offers on sites like VH1.com and MTVU.com. To do so, MTV.com will now syndicate some of the better content from its sister sites to the home page.
MTV also wants to give users a voice. To do so, it has partnered with a video technology firm called Innovid. Through its partnership with Innovid, MTV is allowing users to tag specific moments in videos, write a comment about the moment, and share that with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Those comments are also featured in the video's timeline. So far, the feature has been rolled out in a few videos on the site, but the company hopes to make it available on every video the site offers in the near future.
Although MTV wouldn't divulge exactly how it plans to "create more innovative ads"--a key component in its strategy for quite some time--it did say that it plans to hold a special advertising event on September 9 to celebrate the release of The Beatles: Rock Band on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii.
When visitors get to MTV.com on September 9, they will see an ad that will display exclusive, unreleased content from the game. MTV said that the ad will feature seven "touch points" that visitors can click on. When they do, they will see in-game videos, sneak peeks of gameplay elements, and other features it wouldn't disclose.
MTV plans to offer Facebook Connect support at some point in the future, but it wouldn't say exactly when. Based on how the company's executives were talking, though, I'd expect to see it sooner rather than later.
Although I didn't have the chance to demo the new home page, it looks like an iterative update. The top half of the site has barely changed, while the bottom half features a few new modules that some users might find useful. If they don't find them useful, MTV said that it's willing to change. According to the company's execs, the update is experimental and it plans to modify the site's design based on usage patterns.
With its new home page, MTV wants to become one of the many sites Web surfers visit every day. It wants to be a media hub for entertainment. It's certainly possible. But whether visitors will respond well to the site's few changes when it launches Wednesday morning remains to be seen.