MTV has long prided itself on keeping on the cutting edge of social programming, integrating Twitter and other forms of interactive participation into many of its broadcasts. This year, the network is continuing its social presence with a little boost from the Video Music Awards, using the event to launch a variety of new tools across various platforms.
Here, The Hollywood Reporter breaks down everything you need to know about these new tools and what they mean for the viewing experience.
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"Our audience thinks about these award shows much more broadly than just being the two-hour live television broadcast," says Colin Helms, MTV's SVP digital media. "First we open up online voting and releasing content around the show, then there is a different phase obviously the night of the show in real time -- how people are experience the show -- and then the water cooler conversation starts. Then there's a third phase, which is afterwards and how the audience is talking about it the next day.
"We know that there is this whole kind of 360 experience around just that two-hour broadcast, so we really want to make sure that we are creating programming and product experiences through all of those phases that captures the different behaviors that are naturally happening," he says.
Below, find the highlights from some of those programming and product experiences that we can expect during the Sept. 5 show.
Twitter Tracker: Though its first version was launched in 2007, today's Twitter Tracker has evolved to tap into a new platform to encapsulate the show's most talked-about moments in real-time, creating stunning visualization for TV, web and mobile.
"It sort of gets into what people are saying about that moment without necessarily having to read tweets," explains Mike Scogin, VP of Wireless and Mobile. "We have 15-20 seconds to get something across [on-air], we don't want to confuse people."
The interface will categorize stars and events into a simple stream, which selects keywords and hot topics associated with that subject. MTV will also make still frames available from the popular moments (i.e., Beyonce revealing her pregnancy in 2011) for instant sharing and retreating. "Not only can people talk about Beyonce's baby bump, but they would now be able to share the visual with people in real time," says Scogin.
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Facebook Timeline Tracker: Launched in beta for this year's Movie Awards, it will now serve as a hub for trending VMA content and for the first time, as well as including on-air integration as part of a sponsorship with CoverGirl.
Playing off the idea of the timeline, MTV cameras will follow Teen Wolf star Holland Roden on her "road to the VMAs," in which fans can help select her dress, her makeup, her hair and watch her get ready for the big night.
MTV's Facebook page will also become a one-stop hub to find the most liked, shared and commented on stars, linking to videos and images of them from the show. "We wanted to bring the spirit of innovation that hopefully we have brought to Twitter over the years, while being very specific to Facebook and cognizant of how it's a different platform," says Scogin. "We use it and our users use it in a very different way.
Social Voting: Building off the success seen at the Movie Awards earlier this summer, a new award category: "The Most Share-Worthy Video" will collect votes via Twitter hashtag beginning one week before the show and sponsored by Bing. It's also worth noting that voting is still open for all of the categories, with voting for best new artist to stay open throughout the broadcast.
"Typically with online voting, you go to a page, you look at your nominees, you vote for them and it kind of goes into a black hole and you don’t know how well they did until you find out who won in the show," says Helms. "But the idea of doing a social voting category is being able to do that in real time, and doing it just using a Twitter hash tag and then being able to surface the result in real time, so it really amps up that competition among fan groups."
All Access Live: Viewers have access to approximately 10 different camera angles backstage and within the theater in order to capture new and different perspectives on the show's most memorable moments (both planned and, hopefully, unplanned). Users can access the content via web, tablet and mobile, using MTV News app and the social viewing app, WatchWith.
"The biggest change on our end is better mobile support," confesses Scogin.
Best New Highlights:
-Option to create animated gifs using a simple web tool directly from MTV's video player.
-Paparazzi photos to continue beyond the red carpet, in real-time, sharing backstage and insider photos from the event, giving viewers a new perspective of the show that they've never seen before.
The VMAs air live from L.A.'s Staples Center on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci