Media: Lifeline - MTV

The network is celebrating its 25th birthday but is closing VH2 and launching a multiplatform channel.

1981: Determined to prove right from the off that subtlety is not necessarily going to figure among its many virtues, MTV launches in the US on 1 August with Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles. Its playlist in the early days seems worryingly skewed towards the oeuvre of Hall & Oates.

1985: As the channel's original owners, Warner Communications and American Express, begin moves to sell out to Viacom and its boss, Sumner Redstone (pictured), MTV begins a programme of brand extensions with the introduction of Video Hits One (shortened to VH1).

1987: Having been a runaway success on US cable, it now launches on a pan-European basis, again on 1 August, backed by the poptastic and larger-than-life media baron Robert Maxwell. MTV Europe's first video, introduced by Elton John at a special live party in Amsterdam, is Money For Nothing (with its plaintive "I want my MTV" refrain) courtesy of Dire Straits.

1997: As the advent of digital satellite starts bringing down the cost of distribution bandwidth, MTV begins launching country-specific (as opposed to regional) versions of the channel. MTV UK and Ireland debuts in July - a rather disappointing break with the company's track record of August launch dates. The presenter Cat Deeley becomes its main claim to fame.

2006: As the network prepares to launch a high-definition version of MTV in the US and gears up for 25th birthday celebrations, it experiences its first major setback in the UK - the closure of VH2 due to poor advertising performance. It is to be replaced by MTV Flux, a multiplatform brand distributed via mobile and online as well as TV.

Fast forward ...

2012: MTV, which has been exploring non-music shows since the debut of Beavis and Butt-head in 1993, declares pop music dead and pulls out of music programming, to concentrate on reality programming for the ageing MTV generation (and the Osbournes, pictured).

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