Getting ‘Under The Thumb’

by Seema Alibhai, Viacom International Media Networks

MTV Under The Thumb on the Apple iPhone

The MTV Under The Thumb app drummed up big buzz when it debuted last week at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, earning it ink in Mashable, AdAge and Digital Spy, among many other press outlets.

But, assuming you missed that particular Catalonian conference, and that you don’t live in Germany, Holland, Belgium or Switzerland where the app is currently available, you may be wondering: “So what exactly does Under The Thumb do?”

Well, in a time when social media is transforming the TV-viewing experience, Under The Thumb (UTT) pushes the boundaries of enabling social activity around MTV’s shows, and connectivity across multiple devices.

The app breaks new ground in that it enables social interaction and co-viewing around on-demand content.  What does that mean, exactly?  Picture I’m sitting my ski chalet nestled into the Swiss Alps (hey, you never know, right?). I can whip out my iPhone, open UTT and, through the app, invite my friend Marie in Berlin to watch an episode of Jersey Shore with me.  Marie will get the invitation on Facebook, fire up UTT on her Android phone, and we can watch the same Jersey Shore episode simultaneously on our devices, and chat about it, too – again, all through the app.

If that weren’t cool enough, UTT enables me to pair my iPhone with my web browser on my computer so I can watch an episode Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head on my computer using my phone as a fully functional remote control, or second screen for chatting, or to access news and celebrity gossip from MTV.

Now, I bet you’re thinking, “That sounds amazing. Why can’t I get it in (insert your country of origin here)?”

Good question. For now, the UTT available for iOS and Android phones in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland – all markets where we have mobile brand licensing (MBL) partnerships. Through these partnerships, we team up with a local mobile telecom operator to offer a branded mobile subscription package.  MTV Mobile is one such subscription package, and exclusive offerings like the UTT app are a great way to attract and retain MTV Mobile subscribers.

We are working hard on expanding our MBL footprint, though, so our hope is that we’ll be able to offer UTT in additional markets moving forward.  Until then, you might want to look into picking up your own Swiss chalet.

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