Viewing options for music fans on Australian TV are already slim at best.

With the exception of ABC’s legendary clip show RAGE and The Bump – a televised expansion of Sydney radio station 2Day FM’s program of the same name, most music-based programming has migrated to the greener pastures of cable television.

But following on from the birth of the Tim Rogers-hosted music variety show on Foxtel earlier this year, the service is losing one of its iconic mainstays as it shifts its broadcast operations out of Australia.

MTV Australia will no longer be producing or broadcasting from out of the network’s local Sydney offices, which also handled the brand’s New Zealand broadcasting, with the brand’s parent company, Viacom, relocating most of the station’s operations back to London, as mUmBRELLA reports.

The MTV Australia shift has led to around 15 staff being made redundant, alerted of the cutbacks on Friday (11th October), while a statement from Viacom indicates that a small team will remain in the Sydney offices to handle sales, marketing, and talent/artist management staff for the brand, which employs approximately 100 people across its entire Australian base.

“Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is leveraging its international infrastructure and streamlining certain aspects of its Australian and New Zealand business,” read the statement. “VIMN is currently in the final stages of centralizing broadcast operation functions for AU/NZ, and today [11th Oct] entered into an employee consultation process to centralise MTV and Comedy Central editorial functions out of London.”

Viacom adds that: “departments with roles being centralised include programming, production, creative, production management, research, operations and acquisitions.” The MTV Australia shift has led to around 15 staff being made redundant, alerted of the cutbacks on Friday

MTV first launched as a brand Down Under almost 30 years ago, under the guise of a channel Nine broadcasted music show hosted by Richard Wilkins. It wasn’t until 1997 that MTV Australia officially launched as a dedicated music channel on the now defunct Optus Television network.

Competition from local-based music broadcasting, such as the popular Channel [V] and associated Max brands, saw MTV Australia struggling in recent years, with financial troubles in 2011 leading to production cuts and redundancies as a result of an online merger between the Australia and New Zealand MTV websites, as mUmBRELLA reported, which included cuts to 23 NZ staff.

Other financial scale backs included scrapping MTV Australia’s localised version of the MTV Awards, which first launched in 2005 at Sydney’s Big Top Luna Park and included making headlines in 2007 when Snoop Dogg was denied a Visa by then-Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews to attend the MTV Australia Video Music Awards, starting an online campaign to reinstate his Down Under hosting duties.

The relocation of its broadcasting to the London Viacom offices isn’t too much of a shock considering MTV Australia’s gradual move away from producing local content or programming, mirroring its US brethren by scaling back the amount of music-related content in favour of reality TV shows, such as Pimp My Ride, Engaged & Underage, and Jersey Shore spin-off The Pauly D Project that focuses on the ‘adventures’ of the TV ‘personality and DJ (who depressingly earns as many millions per show as Diplo).

While Australian music lovers have been pretty starved for music television options recently, there is solace in the return of popular music quiz show Spicks & Specks to screens next year.

Meanwhile the internet’s also provided a serviceable supplement for music-based viewing, including the forthcoming premier of The Rider Challenge that pairs outrageous rock star requests with an Amazing Race-style reality contest, or the Entourage rip-off inspired web series that applies the popular HBO show’s formula to the music industry. Or you could just catch up on every episode of RAGE ever, thanks to the efforts of one dedicated fanatic.

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