From Lost Remote:
MTV’s VMAs are set for this Thursday, September 6th, with a jazzed up Twitter Tracker and a new viral video category that will be decided by social votes. The network’s largest tent pole has always been an innovator when it comes to social TV and awards shows in general. The challenge they face now is how can they outdo themselves each year. We spoke with Colin Helms, SVP for Digital at MTV, who gave us a sneak peek of their massive social TV strategy for the big show.
Last year, the VMAs created an extremely advanced second screen experience that incorporated social visualizations, live streaming and more. During the show last year, Beyonce helped the network break a Twitter record and recently they decided to announce nominations via social.
MTV’s actually had a Twitter tracker since 2007, so it’s not surprising that five years later they’re doing more than just listing trends. In addition to adding social voting (like they tested during the Movie Awards, seen below) they will be ramping up their back stage live streaming of the show. They’re also working with CoverGirl on their Facebook activation.
Lost Remote: Looking back on 2007′s Twitter Tracker, how has the product changed the VMAs?
Colin Helms: The Twitter Tracker has continued to showcase the moments and topics being discussed most at the VMAs, acting as sort of a social indicator of the most important moments throughout each show.
LR: What will be new with the tracker this year? What aren’t you bringing back from last year?
Helms: Similar to the Tracker launched with the 2012 Movie Awards, the tracker is going to continue to tap into moments of the show in real-time. So while it will track Twitter activity related to different celebrities, performances, etc., it’s more about identifying the moments trending in real-time and encapsulating them into a stunning visualization across the various screens.
From a strategy perspective, the biggest differentiation in terms of how we’ve evolved the product is that we’re now building it with TV in mind first, and then mobile and web. As the Tracker continues to get more tightly integrated on-air, we didn’t want to be restricted with a web-quality product, so have focused on optimizing for every screen with different iterations of the product. For TV, we’ve made the design a lot bigger and bolder and it will showcase the top three trending moments happening in real-time from the show represented in various frames. The web version will also display trending moments, but below you’ll still see individual artists and celebrities being tweeted about the most. The web version will also have functionality to track terms, capturing what celebrities are saying in any given moment.
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