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MTV is a television channel ostensibly devoted to popular rock, rap, and other music videos, though it now shows a variety of different material aimed at adolescents and young adults. Its name is an acronym for Music TeleVision. MTV started in New York City in 1981 and became available in most of the United States in the late 1980s. In the second half of the 1990s, MTV concentrated primarily on non-music programming.

A large number of rock stars of the 1980s and 1990s were made household names by MTV. 1980s bands immediately identifiable with MTV include Duran Duran and Bon Jovi. Madonna rose to fame on MTV in the 1980s, and she is still heavily dependent on the network to promote her music.

MTV is now available across the globe in various regionalized formats (although often sharing a degree of programming). The advent of digital satellite has also brought greater diversity including channels such as MTV2, which features the slogan "Where The Music's At." MTV2 focuses on playing music videos and other music-related programming. Other MTV channels include MTV Jams, MTV Hits, and MTV Espa˝ol in the USA, as well as MTV Dance and MTV Base in the UK. Viacom, which owns MTV Networks, is also behind VH1 which is aimed at the older market segements with more retro music.

Aptly, the first music video shown on MTV was "Video Killed The Radio Star", by The Buggles.

MTV started off showing mostly music videos, but as time has passed they have introduced a variety of other shows, including cartoons such as Beavis and Butthead and Daria, "reality" shows such as The Real World and Road Rules[?], prank/comedic shows such as The Tom Green Show[?], Buzzkill and Jackass[?], and sitcoms such as Undressed.

Since the dawning of MTV, fresh-faced young men and women were hired to host the show's programming and, initially, to introduce videos that were being played. The term "VJ" (video jockey) was coined, a play on the term "DJ" (disc jockey.) Many VJs eventually became celebrities in their own right.

Criticism of MTV

Because of its visibility, MTV comes under scrutiny as an icon of crass commercialism, accused of denigrating the importance of music in the music industry, replacing it with a purely visual aesthetic[?], bereft of cultural resonance[?], and critical intelligence.

Critics also claim that bands sell well because they get lots of exposure on MTV, rather than MTV picking the best bands to promote, and that MTV has too much influence in the music industry.

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MTV is also the acronym for Magyar TelevÝziˇ, Hungarian Television, which operates two channels, MTV and M2.

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