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MTV queues up local content

The nationally known Web site launches several new content areas including the "Where's the Beat" local guide to music.

Now that MTV has established itself as a national presence on the Web, it's going local, the company officially announced today.

MTV has redesigned its Web site, launching several new content areas including the "Where's the Beat" local guide to music, the "MTV CD Lounge," and hourly news updates.

With the redesigned site, MTV is competing on two fronts at once. It offers content that naturally attracts an attractive demographic of young techno-hip adults, a group ready and willing to use new technology. And, following another hot Web trend, MTV is giving its customers the option of tailoring content specifically to their needs.

But MTV is far from alone. It has a lot of competition in both the music video and the local content arenas.

Several companies recently have announced music site launches, including America Online (AOL) and Microsoft Network.

And several other sites are offering the same kind of information about local happenings, such as concerts. The most recent example is Microsoft's Sidewalk, launching later this week, which will offer localized entertainment information.

MTV, on the other hand, intends to focus its local guide even more narrowly, only offering information on music.

For MTV, going local seemed a natural progression, said Rick Holzman, vice president of programming and promotion for MTV Interactive. "MTV's always been about the best national bands, and the biggest bands, and the best music. You find the best music by having your ears out on the street," he said. "That happens at a local level. People's first exposure to music is generally at the clubs in their hometown."

Ideally, the localized site could work two ways, offering information to MTV's patrons and getting instant feedback in return, he said.

Holzman said MTV had originally launched the local site way back in September 1995, but pulled it in order to improve it.