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“Going Local”: The Secret to MTV’s Global Success, Fmr. CEO Bill Roedy Says

Fin - Daily Ticker - US

"I want my MTV!"

For those of a certain generation, that slogan was more than just part of a catchy ad campaign, but really a way of life.

But, it wasn't just a way of life for Bill Roedy, former chairman and chief executive of MTV International. He actually lived the life. Roedy helped grow MTV's international division from just one European cable channel in 1989 to more than 200 channels in 175 countries before retiring late last year.

"One mistake I think a lot of U.S. companies make is they look at the world as the U.S. and international," he tells The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task. "It really is the U.S. and 175 other countries…. Respecting and reflecting [local cultures] is a big part of our success."

He calls it "going local."

Although that might seem a bit cliché, Roedy finds a lot of truth to it and says MTV International was "local before local was cool" — even when it was a bit controversial to invest large amounts of money designing products tailored to each country.

Roedy tells his story as the architect of MTV's global expansion in his new book, "What Makes Business Rock". He also details his other keys for international success, which include:

  • Break all the rules
  • Never take 'no' for an answer
  • Take risks and innovate
  • Stay nimble and be adaptable
  • Give back to the local community. (During and after his stint at MTV, Roedy has been very active in a number of charitable organizations, with a specific focus on global health, as detailed on his Web site.)

Aside from just being a book on business, it is a story about the remarkable power of music. Roedy has seen firsthand how music is the one language that can bring people and nations together, quite literally.

Not only does he take credit for bringing the first 24-hour western style entertainment channels to Russia and China, he takes partial responsibility for contributing to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Yes, a lofty claim coming from the same man who takes credit for bringing Beavis n' Butthead to Russia and The Jersey Shore to Italy. (See: 'Jersey Shore': Record Ratings Equals "Quality Programming", Says Former MTV Executive)

Watch the interview! Tell us what you think!