What is VH1?
VH1 or Video Hits One is a music channel on cable launched in 1985. It was owned then by Warner Communications with MTV or Music Television as sister company. Since MTV targeted more on the teenage market, VH1 originally was geared towards the older 18-35 age group. Just like MTV, it featured mostly music videos of various artists.
VH1 later added music-reality shows to its channel line-up and it gained much popularity when it was taken over by Viacom, a media company which also owns several other TV stations like CBS, CMT, Showtime, BET, SpikeTV, Comedy Central, and MTV. By 1996, VH1 premiered the “Pop-Up Video” which featured several trivia on the song and artist popping out on the screen while the video is being played. This became widely popular and became a huge pop phenomenon.
VH1 also featured music documentaries like the big hit “Behind the Music”. Launched in 1997, this show tells the story behind every artist. It featured interviews and biographies of the biggest pop stars in the world. The shows first episode was about MC Hammer, a black rapper who made a string of hits on various music charts. VH1 also featured music countdowns, like the weekly Top 20. This show features the most popular videos for a given week which are ranked from 1 to 20. In 1998, VH1 made another hit with the production of the “Divas” concert. This concert featured the biggest female singers in the entertainment industry namely Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Carole King and many others.
Today, VH1 continues to widen its market and include the younger teenage crowd. Though, actual music videos are still shown regularly, there are many other non-music video shows that make VH1 popular. These include music documentaries and specials like “Movies That Rock”, among others.