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The most obvious change—and the most upsetting to viewers—was the decision to end M2's popular 24-hour "no repeat" policy. to 6 a.m., after which a new 8-hour block of programming would start the cycle again.In its place, daily programming was curtailed to an 8-hour block that was then repeated three times a day: from 6 a.m. Predictably, this new format was as disappointing and frustrating to M2 fans as it was to the network itself.
Based on MTV Network's internal research, viewers' pent-up demand for additional music video viewing options—a demand that M2 was designed to meet—fed expectations within the company that the new channel's success would be inevitable and immediate.Due in part to the unexpectedly slow roll-out of the fledgling channel, MTV Networks decided to rebrand M2 in the first quarter of 1999, changing the name to MTV2 in the hopes the new image would signal a new start.As digital cable expanded nationwide, MTV2 continued its own inexorable growth.Upon M2's launch, the new 24-hour music video network proved to be as popular with viewers as MTV hoped.However, as digital cable technology was slow to expand into major cities, cable companies refused to add yet another music channel to their limited, pre-digital channel lineup, arguing that with MTV, VH1, CMT, Fuse and other niche music video options, the audience for 'music on TV' was being sufficiently serviced.
In the beginning, M2's programmers were given full, unrestricted access to MTV's entire video library, as well as exclusive "first use" of videos from new bands, and were told to treat M2 like an independent or college radio station.