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Anyone who grew up in the 80s or 90s has at least heard of Vh1. Alongside MTV, this was the only other channel on basic cable that was devoted to playing music videos. But playing videos is not all that Vh1 had to offer. They also made some of the most iconic shows of the 20th century – such as Pop Up Video, Vh1 Story Tellers, Behind the Music, and Vh1 Legends (just to name a few). As far as entertainment news, and particularly musically based entertainment content is concerned, Vh1 is one of the institutions in the industry.
It is hard to oversell the amount of influence that Vh1 has had on music, as well as the world of entertainment news. And it isn’t just their older shows with which Vh1 has made a name for itself. They are one of those rare entertainment companies that have successfully managed to change and adapt with the times, remaining relevant all throughout the 2000s and to this very day.
Shows like Love and Hip Hop, Wild’n Out, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Party Challenge (hosted by Martha Stewart and, of course, Snoop Dogg) have ensured that Vh1 maintain success through the more recent shifts in the contemporary media landscape’s fickle topography.
Not every company was able to effectively make the switch into the internet age, especially the ones that found fame in the 1980s and 90s. Vh1, however, has demonstrated precisely how an entertainment company can rebrand for a more youthful audience while also retaining the integrity that it’s had throughout its entire existence.
Today, whether you turn to Vh1.com to help stay in the loop when it comes to music and entertainment news, or you like to tune in to your favorite shows that can’t be found on Netflix or Hulu, Vh1 is stronger than ever. With a diverse range of content, Vh1 is a dependable site for anyone, no matter what kind of music or entertainment you might be into.
Vh1 was conceived of, in its very earliest stages, as a sort of antithesis to MTV. Whereas MTV was loud, in your face, and an icon of youthful rebellion and hard rock, Vh1 sought to provide an outlet for fans of the softer, lighter side of popular music. Thus, in their early years (1985-1990), they focused heavily on artists like Olivia Newton-John, Tina Turner, Carly Simon, Elton John, Kenny Rogers, Kenny G, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, and Billy Joel (to name a few).
Vh1 initially hoped to appeal to a demographic of people aged 18-35 or older. If MTV was for the kids, Vh1 was hoping to provide a music video network for older, more mature viewers. Thus, in addition to playing music videos that this demographic would enjoy, Vh1 also frequently played oldies in these years, such as Motown and old concert footage from the 1960s.
This is the mold from which Video Hits 1 (Vh1) was to create a decades-long running empire of music content and news. From there, it was only natural for Vh1 to build on their already well-established foundation of legendary and classic music through retrospective programs like Vh1 Legends and Behind the Music – cinematic features and profiles of artists with true legacies.
Today, however, with the turn of the century, Vh1 has decided to completely alter their focus. Instead of continuing to try and appeal to an older audience, with the rise of the internet and a more youth-focused market overall, Vh1 has switched to a more social media-friendly roster of shows, such as Wild’n Out – a variety show inspired by rap battle culture.
The site itself has what I would call a somewhat classy appearance. Clean lines and a highly organized structure to the layout contribute to this. As does Vh1.com’s simple black and white theme. It is minimalist, not too flashy, and tidy. If I had to use one word to describe how the Vh1 website is designed, I would probably go with “elegant,” especially when compared with other entertainment news and music video sites on the web.
Everything that you could hope to find on Vh1.com is readily available and easy to navigate. A stripped-down site menu bar at the top of the page handily guides you through everything that is on the site. Simply choose from a list of three options: Shows, App, and Watch Live TV. There are no extraneous bells and whistles here. Just a quick and easy way to use the site in the most effective way possible, with plenty of clips and music news and op-eds to browse when you scroll down.
As I just mentioned, Vh1 offers a blend of music and entertainment news and shows. The majority of what this site offers, though, updates on their own programs – you won’t find a whole lot in the way of general music news, unfortunately. At the very bottom of the page, sure, they have gone out of their way to include a small section of trending articles from sponsored third-party sites. But even still, the majority of them seem to pertain to Vh1 programming. I suppose you could say, at least as far as the site’s content is concerned, Vh1 is a little myopic.
That being said, if your primary interest is being able to keep up with your favorite Vh1 shows, their website and app make it as easy and convenient as possible. So long as you have a cable provider, that is. As is the case with most TV channels turned streaming sites, Vh1 allows you to log in via your cable provider in order to watch any and all of their already aired shows, as well as tune in to watch Vh1 live by clicking the “Watch Live TV” button at the top of the page.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
As I touched upon earlier, the design of Vh1’s website could not be better. What you will find here is one of the most streamlined web experiences available, whether you are visiting on your desktop computer, smartphone web browser, or using the stylized and effective Vh1 app. No matter your digital conduit, Vh1 offers optimized site design and live and prerecorded streaming of shows with little to no glitches. For a cable network that got its start catering to nostalgia in the 1980s, Vh1 has been surprisingly successful at keeping up with all of the conveniences of the modern world.
Pricing and Plans
Well, when it comes to the pricings of Vh1, there is not a whole lot that I can say. This is because Vh1 does not offer their own subscription service. At least not as of the time of this writing. In order to enjoy all that Vh1 has to offer, your price point will be whatever your cable company charges you. So, if you already pay a monthly cable bill, you are good to go. That being said, if you are one of the millions of ‘cord-cutters’ in the world that have foregone traditional television in lieu of all the streaming services available nowadays, Vh1 may not be in the cards for you.
Suggestions that I Have for VH1
First and foremost, I would like to see Vh1 branch out a little bit. I understand that they are, primarily speaking, a cable TV network and, thus, are expected to be most concerned with their own programming … but it would be nice if they would also offer a little more for those of us who do not have a cable plan. More entertainment and music news articles, op-eds, listicles, and think pieces would be a welcomed addition to what this site already has to offer.
I would also like to see Vh1 start allowing users who do not have a cable subscription to sign up for subscriptions to watch at least some of the content on this site. This is the way of the future, after all, and Vh1 would be wise to, once again, adapt to the changing times.
All in all, if you are looking to either take a little trip down memory road or stream any and all of Vh1’s current content any time, day or night, this site and app will make it as easy as it should be. You might not find much in the way of general music and entertainment content outside of the Vh1 universe, but for all things related to this legendary music video network, it doesn’t get much better than this.