Should We ‘Kick’ MTV ‘to the curb’?

by November 3, 2008 • 31 comments

Well, should we?  It would seem to me that we aren’t good enough for them.  Maybe we should take our $250k (read $200k) and do something more productive with it, rather than waste it on some antediluvian has-been.  I mean, seriously, who watches MTV anymore anyway.  Sure, all the left-wing east west coasters that are too concerned about the color of their hair than what is actually happening in the real world may still watch it but the ‘kids’ that vacation here during their college spring break spend their free time working, partying, or hanging out with friends, not watching the melodrama unfold between Paris Hilton and her new BFF.

Not to mention that we aren’t even talking about MTV, we are taking about MTVu, a trifle subsidiary of the Bid Dawg.  Sure it is college specific, but again, what does that mean today?

So what are these snobs up to now?  Well, the last marketing committee meeting, the committee motioned to reduce the amount paid to MTVu from $250k to $200k.  When confronted with this issue, MTVu basically cut what they were willing to bring to the table in half.

As per the MTVu Program Recap, the $250k vs. $200k:

  • In-market, main stage for 5 days instead of 10
  • Village for 7 days instead of 10
  • 2 concert days with 4 performances instead of 4 concert days with 8 performances
  • 225 :30 TV spots instead of 300
  • 5 million online impressions instead of 10 million
  • No database
  • No sweepstakes
  • No opt-in opportunity onsite

What?  They’re basically cutting their offering in half, for only $50,000 less.  What’s their deal?  Well, apparently, we aren’t good enough for them.  Apparently $200k is small potatoes for very little on their part.  I say we ditch the Brand and do it ourselves.  For $200k, we can hire someone else to put on a good show and do a lot of marketing, a-lot-of-marketing.  MTVu isn’t the only game in town.

I don’t like to criticize unless I have a good solution, but in this case, I’m doing just that.  There are others being paid to find a solution to this, and they’ve come up with MTVu.  I suggest we find an alternative.  The reality is, if we throw a big enough party (and for $200k, we can throw a pretty big party) MTV will be here anyway, because that is where the action will be.

Now, to you tourism leaders, resort owners and the like:  what are you afraid of?  What happened to good ‘ol fashioned marketing.  Most of you big guys are paying a salaried marketing person to come up with great ideas to get your brand out there.  Why have we become so reliant on the Government to supply us with our business?  Furthermore, the sky will not fall if the beloved MTVu brand turns their pink nose up at us.  The reality is that college kids still love to come here, others can organize huge shows to keep the crowds busy and the party will still be in Panama City Beach during Spring Break 2009.

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1 Mom November 4, 2008 at 7:33 am

Time to throw Mtvu under the bus!
PC Beach doesn’t need them to fill up on spring break. Pier Park will do a better job of attracting the kind of college crowd the city needs …. not the drunk riff-raff!
Host your own concerts there!


2 Stripes November 4, 2008 at 8:24 am

I agree Jason,….Time to mature to college age; ..the only good thing on MTV for some time now ANYHOW is “E-Soup” with Joel McHale (Even the High School kids can tell you that).
[So PCB:…”Paris sucks, Save the bucks”]{Get it MTV???}


3 Mike November 4, 2008 at 8:27 am

The ocean and the name “Panama City Beach, Florida” will pull as much as “MTV” could ever pull and the beauty of it is that it does not cost us a thing! There is a lot of local talent available at a much lower cost. I can assure you that few young people come here because of MTV.

For the business owners…… least try it for one year! I think you will be shocked to see the results!

Put a great marketing theme out there to the colleges with plenty of great pictures of the beaches, Pier Park and such.


4 DB November 4, 2008 at 8:35 am

Students DON”T decide whether or not to go to PCB because of MTVu. They discuss the Spring Break topic about a month after school starts. After a few weeks of research, they verbally commit to each other where they are going (Every year we miss out on the optimum time to reach these Students by waiting until January to try to promote PCB for Spring Break).

MTVu does not release any information about who is in Concert on March 11th or anything remotely similar to anything that would generate additional attendance until late Feb. Students are already committed to a destination by then. The attendance at these Concerts is generated by word of mouth of existing Students are already in PCB. To say students come here because of a Village or a Concert Event that they had no idea was going on is just not even close to true.

Don’t get me wrong, they love the Concerts and come in masses. Ritchie Tarzian put on the 3 Doors Down concert last Spring and it was a huge success. So much so that every Marketing Person, Room Wholesaler and Promoter shows the Crowd Shots of the Event in their own materials. Mostly without giving Tarzian Credit.

I must not know anything about Spring Break because I’ve only been heavily involved in it for 23 years and went to College in the midwest.

My opinion points;

1. Spring Break starts Sept 1

2. Promote and Produce our own concerts (1 per week each Wednesday) to give each break week an Event to promote on Campus. It doesn’t matter where in PCB the concert is.

3. Use technology to secure data acquisition of students

4. Video Posts of On Campus and In-Market PCB Promotions on Social Networks and Websites. (Cross Promote it and Sustain each year… We always Quit!)

5. Make Spring Break an Event, not a Destination

6. Treat College Students like Adults…. There is a clear difference between a College Students and a High School Weekender cruising the Strip.

7. Work together or continue the decline. Stop all the negativity or we’ll have even less to be negative about. Until something better comes along, the Bed Tax dollars and revenue is critical to most businesses survival….Spring Break Bail Out Plan?



5 John November 4, 2008 at 8:50 am

TDC: They are trying to flex thier “muscle” to pick your (our) pocket.

This is a routine modus operandi among large corporations who purport to bring in sports dollars, tourism, and the like. The mantra is: “build us a new stadium, areana, road, ampitheater, etc. or we will go elsewhere”.

In this case, they also bring in thier drug buddies, room trashers, drunks, and pimps. Oh, I forgot, they also bring in just plain rude behavior that I get stuck with living around.

Who likes and benefits anyway?

MTV? Boardwalk? LaVela? MegaCorp?

I sure don’t and that funding from the bed tax I pay
from good folks who rent the rest of the year.

I would suggest that the folks who want this, get together and form a marketing committee and pool thier money, but ooops, looks like they already may have, think thier group is called “TDC”….and it’s not thier money, either….



6 John November 4, 2008 at 9:02 am

This guy’s comments are so far ahead fo MTVu, they just show whatr saps we are being played for. Point by Point:

1. Spring Break starts Sept 1

This is so very true. I can remember the first year when
I was in college. I had not thought about spring break and
it was already too late when I did. These folks think ahead.

2. Promote and Produce our own concerts (1 per week each Wednesday) to give each break week an Event to promote on Campus. It doesn’t matter where in PCB the concert is.

Concerts are one possibility, but they need to be geared to the mix of colleges.

3. Use technology to secure data acquisition of students

This is smart marketing and any business person worth a hoot should be able to see it. Why are we not getting that now?

4. Video Posts of On Campus and In-Market PCB Promotions on Social Networks and Websites. (Cross Promote it and Sustain each year… We always Quit!)

Simply being used by a second tier channel is soooo lame, and the students know it.

5. Make Spring Break an Event, not a Destination

Spring Break Olympics?

6. Treat College Students like Adults…. There is a clear difference between a College Students and a High School Weekender cruising the Strip.

…and a clear diffference in behavior.
BTW, who ultimately pays for that college person
to come to spring break?

7. Work together or continue the decline. Stop all the negativity or we’ll have even less to be negative about. Until something better comes along, the Bed Tax dollars and revenue is critical to most businesses survival

Keep working on something better. It can include but not be limited to Spring Break.

….Spring Break Bail Out Plan?

Hell NO.


…and let your commissioners know you did….


7 Scott November 4, 2008 at 10:37 am

Right on Jason. They should spend money on advertising something that will help all of Panama City Beach hotels and retail. I’m sure it is just a matter of time before they add a pillow tax and linen tax. You know the game, the more you collect, the more you can throw away.


8 Jason November 4, 2008 at 10:51 am

Great comments guys, keep ’em coming. This will be decided on tomorrow, let the TDC know what you think!


9 Kirk Lancaster November 4, 2008 at 1:16 pm

First of all, it’s great to see on Election Day that some of us not only go to the polls, we get involved at a local level on issues that we care about. Kudos to Jason for making this site work and all the contributors. If only the TDC and other business leaders would participate within this site as a place to share ideas, we would accomplish much more as a community.

There are a couple facts here we cannot ignore.

1. $250K of the TDC/CVB budget is already allocated and approved for Spring Break 2009 ( . It will be spent. It is too late to start looking for new ideas for Spring Break 2009.

2. Bed tax collections and the industry leaders indicate that Spring Break 2008 was a success. The MTVu program was arguably the best marketing investment made in 2008, so it’s proven to be good for the local economy.

Of course I’d always rather see bed tax dollars spent on cleanliness, safety and infrastructure, but since money WILL be spent on special events and traditional advertising, we must try to support the TDC with their best plans. MTVu worked out OK in 2008. It’s way too late to complain about it for 2009.

2010? Show up at TDC meeting Thursday at 2PM and get involved. Now is your opportunity to start working on the Spring Break 2010 plan.


10 t-mac November 4, 2008 at 2:46 pm

we are a full service event production company..we own all our own concert stages,sound,lighting,barracades,interactive inflatables and much more..for what you are paying mtvu we could bring you one heck of a concert series&entertainment..give us a shout!!


11 t-mac November 4, 2008 at 2:52 pm

if any of your officials want to check us out we are at be happy to give them one awesome entertainment proposal..they might be plesantly suprised!!


12 Lori November 4, 2008 at 3:04 pm

As we’ve discussed this very recently, you know I totally agree with you. As vacation rental owners, we booked solidly without even one coed to help us pay our bills. MTV and college kids have no bearing on our success as vacation rental owners. How we market to families and provide them with a nice place to stay and provide things to see and do is where we obtain our repeat customers. Now that we all know that PCB can hold its own without MTV and all the headaches that come with, I’m happy to say that our glorious city has risen above it. Great article J!


13 Tony Johnson November 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm


I think you are right on! We do not need to be investing in any type of MTV promotions. People (old & young ) will come to our beaches because of our beaches. The money should be put into making our beaches more attractive, particulaly to large groups (i.e. Churches, Sporting Organizations, Conventions, etc.)

Your as to paying out large sums of money to marketing groups that are not even attached to our beaches are right on also. I am not bragging only stating the fact, but we own & operate one of the largest/well-known surf shops on the Gulf Coast & are at the top for the entire state of Florida (Mr. Surf’s. We average nearly 7,000 people a day & up to 15,000 during season on our website (non hits) because of the type of marketing we use (personal, professional & accurate & tapping into what people want to know). It is mostly our DAILY BEACH REPORT that attracts these visitors, many which DO NOT surf.

Our website & business, not the TDC, nor the Chamber, attracted Southern Living Magazine. Through some contacts & over a period of time, we set up an appointment to host them here in PCB a couple months ago while they worked on a feature/story about watersports (mainly Stand-up Paddle Boarding) on the Emerald Coast. The story will be an added 3-4 page insert to a Spring 2009 issue of Southern Living Magazine (Florida Living). It will reach 1.8 million readers. We did not pay one dime &/or use any advertisg agency for the exposure we will receive, as well as Panama City Beach, when it goes to print. We also have attracted another multi-billion dollar company as well as a World-wide audience, that we currently work with in promoting watersports & our beaches.

We have rare gems here on our coast with amenities that no other coast in Florida has to offer & attract visitors. That’s where we need to focus our energy & the funding & marketing – in my opinion! Our business -Mr. Surf’s- is & we are reaping the benefits.


14 Troy Steuwer November 4, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Jason, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I mean, seriously, who does watch MTV anymore? I’m 24 and haven’t watched it for three years now…


15 Lori Duncan November 4, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I visit your site all the time, especially for the surf reports! Any way I can keep up with the conditions in PCB is great, so thank YOU for Mrsurfs!

Troy, you are right, I personally don’t know anyone under 30 that watches MTV. Given the chance, they’d rather update their Facebook, Myspace and other blogging sites than spend hours in front of the tube watching vids. Which MTV isn’t especially about music vids so much anymore anyway. It’s all about who is dating who, whose crib is the best, and other reality tv that nobody really cares about. MTV is a dinosaur! Old, smelly and prehistoric! LOL!


16 jim bradley November 5, 2008 at 2:15 am

We had better put up the other $50,000 for MTV to meet their $250,000 goal–the amount of coverage it will buy is far more than that. you vasly underestimate the popularity of their programing. And as for PCB being able to put on a successful event anywhere near the magnitude of theirs–you are dreaming. Just look at the Seafood festival, that is so poorly attended. $250,000 does not buy much in the way of national advertising, if you check around, and no one has demonstrated in the TDC, ever, of being able to ull off a highly sucessful national event in PCB. Those are the facts.


17 Lori November 5, 2008 at 9:15 am

You are welcome to your opinion, but from what I hear, the F & W Festival was well attended, despite the high costs. We were on virgin territory and the first few years of a new event will have lovers and haters of it. It just needs to be done right.

As far as MTV’s presence goes, the attendance is representative of our country’s youths’ scary downward spiraling decline of morals. They come to party and blow off steam, not because of their devotion to MTV. I truly doubt that thousands of teens and college coeds go on spring break because of MTV’s presence. Otherwise, all the other spring break locations would be totally abandoned, which they’re not.


18 Bryan Durta November 5, 2008 at 9:52 am

The extra $50,000 is really up to the college spring break oriented businesses. The TDC/CVB has already budgeted $150,000 with the co-op expected to raise $100,000.00. However, the $200,000 motion that passed the marketing committee provided that the government would still contribute $150,000. If mtvU is really that important, the businesses should have no problem coming up with their full $100,000.


19 Kimberly November 5, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Even though I am a new vacation rental owner, I agree with you and Jason. I had alot of success without the help of any coeds.


20 Lori November 5, 2008 at 4:59 pm

I cannot stress enough the importance of carefull screening of guests, good marketing skills, and attracting families for a successful rental program. Applying all this, and hopefully the cooperation of your neighbors who rent, will make our resorts a welcome and safe place for anyone, any time of year. The rest of us who feel this way, should not have to feel like hiding under a rock and closing their condo doors for 6 weeks every spring. None of us should have to face downtime for replacing our walls, flooring and furniture either. Thank God we’ve never been faced with that and pray we never will. All our guests have been gems. Best of luck Kim!


21 ann November 6, 2008 at 12:04 pm


Are you kidding me? Remember I use to sit beside you. We both know what a joke MTVU is and I think we all made that clear on our one on one meeting. The only place it benefited was Student City and The Board Walk. Which I’m sure it will do again. Until we loose Y partenership we will never move forward in a direction that benefits ALL.
Remember, They also said the White Sale was a HUGE success.
That was a load of poop also!!!


22 Nikki Lindsey November 6, 2008 at 5:20 pm

I hate to sound like I am defending Mtv against allegations of its utter lameness in modern society, but there may be other benefits to their presence here during Spring Break. For example, we will still receive alot of national exposure during the event, which will lead to increased tourism in the future. Also, even though it seems that not as many people are tuning in to MtvU, alot of colleges play it on televisions in cafeterias and student centers.
I certainly don’t think that we need them, but if the money is basically already spent as Kirk indicated, then maybe we should figure out how to best supplement what they are going to bring to the table. I think that concerts booked now and advertised to students this winter would be a big draw. We also need to emphasize to parents that PCB is safer than letting their 19 year old go to Cancun or other foreign locales. We also need to come up with ways to make PCB seem like the most economical choice for students. Even though condo owners can get by without them, I think that it is important to remember that many families come here now because the parents came here on Spring Break at one time.


23 Lori November 6, 2008 at 7:51 pm


While I agree with you that most Florida hotspots are going to be safer than sending our college kids to Cancun, I still don’t think it’s MTV that brings them here. Is it just me or would it be safe to assume that places like Destin and Navarre fill just as many rooms with families as PCB does with 20-somethings in March and April? Why can’t we aspire to attract a different customer base than we’ve been getting. Our family is coming here now because we’ve recently discovered how nice the beaches, shopping and all the other offerings PCB has to offer. Not because we, or our parents ever set foot on PCB. MTV didn’t bring us here, the beautiful beach did. I really hate to think of dealing with a winter crowd of students and dealing with them in the spring too. That would drive off our winter guests for sure. I think!


24 Nikki Lindsey November 6, 2008 at 10:58 pm


I understand where you are coming from and I share your desire for PCB to evolve into a popular family destination. However, Spring Break provides much needed revenue after a long off season, particularly for workers in the service and tourist industries.


25 Lori November 7, 2008 at 12:48 am

I truly believe that the advances that PCB has made in improvements for tourism, have attracted as many visitors as anything else. Pier Park, ride and game venues, a huge assortment of restaurants, shopping and great places to stay all contribute to the city’s appeal. The beaches continue to be a huge appeal and as long as we keep improving and keep our beaches clean and safe. If we continue to market PCB as having something for everyone, the days of MTV here will be history.

I believe in PCB will hold its own, and that folks from all walks of life will keep our tourism dollars, and jobs, quite healthy. Spring break is approximately 6 weeks, while 46 weeks can pretty much hold its own, when we think outside the box.

Any coastal town that puts all its eggs in the spring break basket is asking for trouble…but that’s just my opinion. That ride can come to an abrupt hault by one catastrophic weather event, continued bad reputation from illegal underage activities, or worse. Look what happened for example, in Aruba, after Natalee Holloway went missing. That whole island suffered from the damaged publicity and is just now regaining its appeal. God forbid anything like that would happen here. I’m not trying to be negative or a doomsdayer, but I just think if we can diversify our appeal, and bring in other industries that are non-dependent on the seasons, it would ensure a better economy. Not to mention bring in more jobs, permanent ones.

I know this is long, so sorry. But I was watching the Weather Channel tonite and they interviewed a guy that ran a resort store in “snow country”. He was ringing his hands about the increase in temps in winters, and how much less snow there was, shortened ski seasons, etc. He wondered, “…what do we do when our winter tourists’ seasons are cut short…” In other words, where would they compensate for lost tourism dollars due to climate change? My thoughts went like this. Time to start thinking of other ways to keep those guests coming, and adding new ones while you’re at it. Why depend only on the ski tourists? Why not add some zip-line parks, archery/nature trail cabin packages, upcountry wildlife parks? Bring in the artisans, B&Bs and throw in an ice rink park. But you can’t wait until it’s too late. You have to think ahead and get the wheels in motion before the bubble bursts.

I am really looking forward to watching this city become the beautiful butterfly it was meant to be.


26 Kirk Lancaster November 7, 2008 at 10:02 am

Hi Ann, it’s great to see you get involved on this topic. When it comes to TDC discussions, no one should have a louder voice than the bed tax collectors.

I realize there were many faults in last year’s MTVu program, and the staff and new marketing committee addressed a lot of those concerns. But the tax collections indicated that Spring Break 08 was a success, and the general consensus at the recent marketing committee meeting was that ’08 was one of the best Spring Breaks in years.

Therefore, looking for any kind of victory in 2008’s advertising and special events spending, MTVu would have to be considered the best investment. Plus, the plan this year includes new data-capturing features, which makes it much more appealing.

As long as the TDC is going to spend Spring Break money, a big college brand is a good coattail to ride on.

I hope that you and other collectors closely monitor 2009’s program, hold the CVB staff to unprecedented measurement and data collection (as promised), and immediately begin working with the CVB for Spring Break ’10 in March ’09. We simply cannot keep arguing this issue in October and November.

All the other comments on this issue are appreciated as well. Nikki, you make great points for promoting Spring Break. Lori, I believe you will discover, as I did, that no one, no way, will end Spring Break in PCB. The TDC wouldn’t have to invest a penny, and Spring Break would still thrive in PCB. It’s simply part of our brand.


27 Lori November 7, 2008 at 10:16 am

I know there will be no end to Spring Break in PCB. I just want MTV to go home and let the season become more family friendly. I thank God we’re on the far west end, so our families with children on spring break, don’t have to witness what goes on down Front Beach Rd. They enjoy our end, and our early spring season does not depend on coeds to stay afloat. Spring Break is more than LaVela and college/high school kids hanging out of car windows. I’d love to see our beach listed in the Top 10 Florida Beaches on Travel Channel, without having the label “best party beach”. We want Spring Break, but I don’t believe it’s the end-all season for us.


28 Walter Kraszewski January 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

How can someone treat college students like adults when they act like non responsible teens? There is no “clear”
difference between drunk college students and High School
Weekender cruising the Strip. What is the clear difference that you talk about? Drunk, unruly, disrespectful, and distructive behavior is unacceptable regardless of age and certainly no different between college students and those in High School …wk


29 Walter Kraszewski January 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm

A lot of negative things health wise and even death do happen in PCB during Spring Bresk. Just take a walk thru an ER to be enlightened. Unfortunately those pictures never get published. …wk


30 Joe January 13, 2009 at 9:54 am

Agree with Walter. It seems everyone here owns rental property and only care about filling rooms. Maybe if you give some consideration to quality of life on PCB you will fill and sell more condos over the long haul. Make PCB a place people want to LIVE in instead of just visit.