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Viacom, whether a force for good or a force for evil, gets social media; Viacom gets social TV. The numbers bear this out. " At 10:35 p.m. ET, Beyonce’s live performance and baby bump reveal generated 8,868 tweets per second," writes Mashable. And according to Trendrr, the daily total volume was 5.5 million -- about 5.4 million via Twitter and 66,317 via Facebook -- and 48% of the user agents accessed those social sites via a mobile device. These are profoundly delicious statistics.
Viacom, it appears, has discovered the social media Holy Grail -- that their awards shows are powerful tools to drive social engagement. Awards shows are also, when done effectively, ratings magnets. This week's VMA awards drew their largest audience -- 12.4 million viewers -- in history. To put that number in proper perspective, NBC preseason football drew on average 7.3 million viewers. "MTV said that 8.5 million of those watching Sunday's show were 12-34 year-olds, making it the most watched telecast of all time in that age group," writes Reuters. In other words, more 12-34 year olds watched the VMA's than the total average audience of NBC preseason football on Sunday.
It is not inconceivable that "socially friendly" programming like Teen Wolf, by the very fact that it is geared towards a young audience is eo ipso "socially friendly" because young people are the most socially engaged.
But back to the data. According to their press release (using Nielsen as their source):
MTV Digital saw its highest VMA day ever on Sunday, with VMA content attracting two million unique visitors, an increase of +33% year over year. In addition, more than 10 million page views were garnered on Sunday, up +18% year over year. VMA video content generated 2.3 million streams for the day, up a whopping +41% vs. the day of the 2010 VMAs. MTV’s mobile site reached its highest day in history thanks to the VMAs as well, with over 2.7 million mobile views for the day, more than +50% higher than the previous record. Also MTV Digital hosted its biggest live event ever on Sunday; over 1.2 million streams were generated on MTV.com, tablet, and mobile devices across a multitude of cameras giving users the ultimate backstage experience. It was the most social VMA day ever, with social networks driving +76% more traffic than a year ago.
The Social Summer of Viacom
In June, according to Trendrr BET was the top cable network by social activity. This was, of course, driven by the BET awards ( over 1.4 million impressions in June ).Viacom's young, pop-culturally focused cable networks -- VH1, BET, MTV -- are all working on the same social media page. I wrote earlier this month, "In June, BET was the top cable network by social activity, followed by MTV. The BET Awards, which propelled the network in June, was a perfect storm of young and interactive. That a single event could propel a cable network to the top in social is quite interesting and the MTV Music Video awards are very well situated indeed if that continues to be the case."
In July, VH1 was the top social cable network with 12% "share of voice," according to Trendrr. TeenNick -- owned by MTV, a subsidiary of Viacom -- was the #4 social cable network with 9% of the July share of voice. And MTV rounded out the top 5 cable networks at #5 social cable networks with 7% of the July share of voice. in other words, of the top 5 cable social networks, Viacom owned 3. Further, of the Top 5 social cable shows for July, HBO's True Blood reigned supreme (with 10% share of voice)-- but VH1's Basketball Wives was #3 (with 6% share of voice), and MTV's Teen Wolf was #5 (with 3% share of voice).
In August, Viacom has built on what they have learned from the BET awards, according to Trendrr. Positive sentiment for the VMAs was 80%.
It is no exaggeration to say that the social TV summer of 2011 belonged to Viacom.
Finally, I cannot fail to note in closing that the Academy Awards -- down 7% since 2010 for ABC -- and the Emmys -- which ran a *meh* even in 2010 compared to 2009 -- both have a lot to learn Viacom's handling of their marquee brand awards shows this summer. The Emmys air on September 19th.
And this blog will be watching ...