1981-1983: MTV launches a 'Thriller' The launch of MTV in August 1981 redefined the music and television industries, stealing the cool from radio by placing an emphasis on fast-paced visuals. MTV quickly became the go-to station for youth culture, operating in parallel as a repository for teen marketing initiatives. If there is a singular event that heralded MTVs cultural dominance, it was the premiere of Michael Jacksons Thriller. A swell of excitement around the 14-minute video turned the canny marketing tool into a must-see event. The highly choreographed zombie dance-a-thon, directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) with cinematic production values, premiered in December 1983. Demand was so high that it was shown twice an hour in its early days.
Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times