Last year was a great year for awards shows, which had been showing a decline in viewer interest in recent years. Social media added a new dimension of real-time excitement unprecedented in the entertainment industry. For the first time, viewers were able to share their comments about everything from red carpet outfits to explosive performances to disruptive outbursts (I’m looking at you, Kanye), with millions of other viewers all around the country.
This year, MTV planned on taking full advantage of the social platforms that its target audience has practically grown up on. At the center of MTV’s social integration is its Twitter tracker, a real-time interactive infographic displaying backstage photos and trending topics related to the show.
The Twitter tracker is three-fold; the “Buzz” section displays the most talked-about topics and celebrities during the show, determined by total number of mentions. Clicking on a topic will take the user to a pop-out showing individual tweets related to that topic.
The “Paparazzi” section shows which photos from MTV’s “Black Carpet” are popular among the show’s watchers. A lace-clad Selena Gomez dominated the rankings, until Beyonce arrived on the scene, looking ravishing in red.
Of course, celebrities at the awards show would be tweeting live updates to their fans, and MTV intended to augment the experience with its “Hot Seat” section. The hot seat showed where A-list attendees were sitting in the Nokia theater, and would display tweets from the celebrity above their heads on the interactive map.
Finally, acknowledging that fans would want to be the first to share poignant moments in the live programming, MTV dedicated a “Share it First” feature that published the latest clips on demand, and let users easily share favorite performances – like Beyonce’s pregnancy reveal – with their social networks.
Also worth noting is Verizon’s pre-show interactive interview, where fans could record questions for the celebrity attendees and get the chance to see host Jim Cantiello ask their question live on the air.
“Our goal is always to create an additive experience, not distract, and capture that natural behavior in a live real-time environment,” according to Colin Helms, VP of Programming for MTV Digital.