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MTV Ups The Digital Ante For The 2012 VMAs

The-2012-mtv-vma-nominations-drake-rihanna-lead-with-5-nominations-each-HHS1987As MTV’s highly anticipated Video Music Awards draws closer (airing next Thursday 9/6 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles), the network has begun to focus deeply on individual platforms within the digital sphere, seeking to create a more unified experience among web and mobile users in hopes of having them be as much a part of the show as its participants. While the primary focus naturally rests within social media, MTV has seemingly pulled out all the stops to make this year’s VMAs the most interactive one ever.

Among the new features for this year’s VMAs, social voting sees MTV rolling out a new category dubbed “The Most Share-Worthy Video”, which honors artists with the most impactful music videos of the year as defined by social shares and fan-made lipdubs, recreations and alternate versions of their music videos. Nominees include Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe,” Beyoncé, “Countdown,” Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend,” One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful” and Goyte, “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Fans vote via Twitter using hasnhtags #votecarlyrae, #votebeyonce, #votegotye, #voteonedirection, and #votebieber.

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The VMAs will also include a Twitter tracker (first seen during the 2012 Movie Awards), which will tap into moments of the show in real-time. The tracker is designed differently for both TV and web. The TV design for instance is a lot bigger and bolder and will show viewers the top three trending moments happening in real-time on TV, while the web version will display both trending moments and individuals being tweeted about the most, while having the functionality to track terms, capturing what celebrities are saying in any given moment. 

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Where there’s Twitter, there’s sure to be Facebook. The VMAs will also include a Facebook Timeline Tracker, serving as a hub for trending VMA content pre, during and post show with assets visualized in real-time based on popularity tracked by likes, comments and shares.

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MTV’s All Access Live will continue this year with a live viewing experience where viewers can witness the event from nine different camera angles (on stage, the red carpet, backstage, etc), optimized for both mobile phones and tablets. The video player will also have a new feature called "Gif It" that allows users to view, create and of course share their own Gifs. MTV has also created specific content for other platforms including Viddy, Tumblr, Pinterest, Foursquare and Instagram and is said to be populating them with content in the weeks leading up to the VMAs, as well as during.

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The VMAs are essentially MTV's equivalent to the Superbowl. The network has been seen to test products at earlier events such as the Movie Awards, and then roll them out in full fashion in time for the VMAs. Audiences seem receptive to the efforts, as web and mobile interactivity among viewers is generally high before, during, and after these events. In fact, the 2012 "Social Voting" category saw 3 million votes casted in just a few hours since it went live yesterday morning, with #voteonedirection and #votebieber both trending topics on Twitter. 

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud