A month after announcing it would build two new Web sites in the kids and music arenas, MTV Networks has found the person to do it -- Fred Seibert, the original creative director for MTV and former president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. Seibert is taking on the job of president of MTV Networks Online.
"More and more numbskull humans, like myself, are beginning to use the Web," said Seibert, who most recently ran an independent production company that created TV programming for MTV and Nickelodeon. "The Web is truly a consumer medium now, and I think MTV Networks arrived at that conclusion the same time I did."
Seibert will be based in New York, where he will oversee a staff of 150 and will report directly to MTV Networks' chairman and CEO, Tom Freston. MTV Networks includes the MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon businesses.
Seibert told The Standard that the events leading up to his appointment as the head of MTV's Internet efforts were "completely and utterly coincidental."
"I wrote an article for the daily newspaper at NATPE (the National Association of Television Programming Executives) on how animation made great Web entertainment. It was my first public statement about the Web." The next month, Seibert recalled, MTV Networks announced the formation of its new Internet division, which would launch two new products, dubbed Nozzle and Buggles. Seibert was already thinking about the Web, and when the offer came, he was ready to try out a new medium.
"I've been really lucky to live through more than one 'once in a lifetime' types of experiences," said Seibert, who remembers pulling his first all-nighter during the launch of MTV. He subsequently helped with the relaunch of Nickelodeon and the creation of products such as the Nick-at-Night classic TV network.
Seibert shrugged off the idea that MTV's new efforts in the online space are being made late in the game.
"We're exactly where we want to be," he said. Although he declined to provide any details on what the site would offer, he said it would address all genres of music, including world music. He added that the music site, with a working title of the Buggles Project, is set to launch in June, as previously announced.
MTV Networks' Online operates out of dual offices in New York and San Mateo, Calif., where recently purchased Imagine Radio and Web developer NVolve are housed.