MTV Networks, the highly successful music television cable operation, announced it will move its expanding Western regional offices from Universal City to Santa Monica next year.
Showtime Networks Inc., a sister company to MTV based in the same Universal City building, is also planning to move its West Coast operations, sources confirmed. When and where Showtime is moving has not yet been determined, they said. Showtime's West Coast office employs about 100 people.
Both companies are units of New York-based Viacom Inc.
MTV is moving because the company wants to unite its 300 West Coast employees under one roof, said Tom Walter, vice president of administration, planning and design for MTV.
The company also wants to be more conspicuous. Hence, its new home--a five-story building at 2600-2700 Colorado Ave.--will be subjected to a multimillion-dollar face-lift, Walter said. Sharp angles, galvanized metal, bright colors and patio umbrellas will declare MTV's presence. "We are really pumped about it," he said.
MTV Networks has leased space at 10 Universal City Plaza since 1985. But over the years, the firm's West Coast work force has grown from about 25 employees to 300--a sixth of MTV's total. The L.A. operations gained importance as the network grew and sought to give its programming more of a West Coast flavor, said MTV spokesman Todd Phillips.
"We need to be as local as we possibly can. Kids like to see what they are familiar with," he said.
Office space is tight in the southeast San Fernando Valley. So as MTV has grown, it has overflowed into what temporary space it could find scattered around the vicinity.
But when the company completes its planned move to Santa Monica in March, it will have 100,000 square feet in one spot, enough to house everything from advertising and marketing to production, Walter said.
Centralization will make it easier for employees from different departments to interact, he said, explaining that at MTV "the business people need to understand the creative side of the business so they can sell it; the creative people need to understand the business side."
The Colorado Avenue building, formerly owned by a medical company, has been acquired by an entity of M. David Paul, a Santa Monica developer. MTV has signed a 10-year lease, Paul said.