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This Day In Market History: MTV Launches

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This Day In Market History: MTV Launches
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Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 37 years ago, cable television channel MTV was launched.

Where The Market Was

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 946.25 and the S&P 500 traded at 130.46. Today, the Dow is trading at 25,415.19 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,816.29.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1981, Lady Diana Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales. NASA launched its first-ever Space Shuttle. Year-end U.S. interest rates were 15.75 percent.

Music Meets TV

At one minute past midnight on Aug. 1, 1981, MTV famously launched with MTV creator John Lack speaking the words "ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll” over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch, which had taken place earlier in the year. MTV’s first ever music video was appropriately “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles.

MTV’s content was originally basic music videos introduced by VJs, and it became a huge hit with younger Americans. MTV was initially the property of Warner-Amex, but was spun off into a new company called MTV Networks in 1984. Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA) (NASDAQ: VIAB) acquired a 66-percent ownership stake in MTV Networks in 1985 and upped its stake to 100 percent a year later.

MTV began producing and airing non-music original programming geared at young adults and teenagers in the late 1980s. Today, only a small portion of MTV’s content is actual music videos.

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Photo via Wikimedia. 

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