With social networks signing live sport deals and commissioning original content, are they a broadcaster’s friend or fiercest rival?

For Joanna Wells, VP of Digital Content, Comedy Central, MTV International at Viacom International Media Networks, both sides can prosper by working together.

Mtv single af

MTV’s first cross-platform programme: Single A.F. 

She says: “There are things that the likes of Facebook in video might do which might be seen to rival us, but what we are very good at is working with them, and the other social media players. They all want us to succeed, because that’s good for us both.

“What we have to do is to establish and maintain contact with our viewers, and what’s important with our relationship with Facebook, for example, is that they get ‘it’. They understand us, and this extends well beyond our English-language speakers well into our European and other international markets.”

Wells explains that MTV had just wrapped a 10-episode linear show, called ‘Single A.F’ which is its first cross-platform show. It mixes single celebrities and makes heavy use of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook as they look for love.

“It is all about using social media; the format was filmed in the UK, Australia, Mexico, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and France and will air this Autumn.”

”MTV is all about creating great content, and with social media we can gain responses in seconds”

She adds that MTV taps directly into the channel’s 180 million or so social media fans globally and has already received over 98 million hits across all social and digital channels for this brand ahead of the TX. Far from being focused on English-language material Wells said that Latin America, Mexico was huge for the show, with “massive traction” because of Social Media.

IBC2017 Joanna Wells will speak as part of the panel discussion Social Networks – friend, frenemy or foe? 

“MTV is all about creating great content, and with social media we can gain responses in seconds. That’s both a challenge and an opportunity. You can have a topic trending within moments of a show going on air. We want our content on every platform, and whatever device they might be using. We will be constantly creating content throughout a key show, ahead of a show, and after a show.”

Wells also looks after Comedy Central, and while the channel doesn’t quite have the reach of MTV on social it is expanding fast.

“We have created a number of short-form original clips here, and in Australia and the US. Comedy Central is different compared to MTV. We try and recognise the geographical sensibilities but we already have huge reach for Comedy Central on Snapchat Discover where there’s fresh material in Animation, Sketch and Stand-Up. The Discover platform takes us everywhere.”

She said that the appetite and tastes of viewers, and in particular social media users, internationally for MTV and Comedy Central was really not that different.

“It is all about the platform and we will create content to suit that platform. Does it need subtitles, what duration for maximum impact, how can we monetise… the list is long. We can also instantly tap into important events, usually within about five seconds. That’s what we do.”


Joanna wells

Joanna Wells

Joanne Wells 

VP, Comedy Central and MTV International, Viacom International Media Networks

Region: United Kingdom

Joanna Wells is Vice President, Digital Content, Comedy Central and MTV, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).  Based in London, Wells is responsible for developing the digital content strategy for both the MTV and Comedy Central brands in the UK, Russia & CIS, Northern and Central Eastern Europe, well as internationally, outside of the US.

Wells reports jointly to Kerry Taylor, Senior Vice President, Youth and Music for VIMN and Jill Offman, Senior Vice President, Comedy, VIMN. Wells joined the company in 2014 to take up this newly created role and is primarily focused on consolidating both brands’ position across all media channels including online, tablet, mobile, live events and social media. 

Prior to VIMN, Wells worked as a consultant at a number of different companies including ShopStyle, Brightsolid Online Publishing and Clock Ltd where her responsibilities included managing digital product development, creating a new portfolio of revenue streams and managing mobile content optimisation for multi device strategy.