MTV’s Live 8 Do-Over

Following wide criticism of its Live 8 coverage, MTV Networks announced it would broadcast 10 hours of performances from the July 2nd concert extravaganza.

MTV and VH1 each aired five hours of commercial-free Live 8 footage July 9th, with both channels showing performances by U2, Pink Floyd, Orchestra Baobab, Coldplay, and Paul McCartney.

The VH1 broadcast included Rob Thomas, Sting, Dave Matthews Band, and Maroon 5, while MTV aired artists like The Killers, Kanye West, Green Day, and the Linkin Park/Jay-Z collaboration.

The re-broadcast came a week after the 10-city anti-poverty event, which featured more than 150 bands across the world.

AOL’s feeds of the performances were hailed as a watershed moment for online streaming, but MTV’s live coverage drew a firestorm of criticism. The network cut many performances off mid-song – often in favor of trivial chit-chat from hosts – and focused mostly on the Philadelphia and London concerts.

In a press release July 8th announcing the 10-hour re-broadcast, the network stopped short of admitting any missteps but said it was airing the concerts “as a result of viewer demand.”

“At MTV and VH1, we’re in a constant and candid dialogue with our audience,” MTV Networks Music Group President Van Toffler said. “In the wake of our coverage last Saturday, our viewers have resoundingly told us online they want to see full performances from their favorite artists.”

When questioned about the network’s initial coverage, Toffler said it had to juggle an enormous amount of artists, plus find time to air commercials and explain the purpose of the concerts.

He added that he was surprised at the demand for Pink Floyd’s set – the band’s first in more than 20 years – because many of MTV’s viewers weren’t even born when the band broke up.