The Internet Twerks!

Sunday night, MTV, the station that used to play music videos, held its annual televised Video Music Awards (VMAs) show.

In between Gaga going Little Mermaid and Katy Perry co-headlining a boxing homage with her sports bra, there was Miley. The artist formerly playing Hannah Montana twerked down the house.

Let’s accept the social commentary from Cap’n Lou Albano’s music video daughter that “girls just want to have fun” and set aside the moralization of Miley’s moves for a moment.

Because there’s a shift taking place that bears an examination as close as Robin Thicke was privy to on stage with Cyrus.

It’s the shift behind why live and custom content is central to brand success in a digital world.

In the beginning, the VMAs served the principal purpose of giving MTV a live event to sell TV inventory against – and at a premium, with the ability to air repeatedly and incessantly with further ad revenues realized.

Now, as best as one can tell, the VMAs exist to create a digital and social vault that forms the new-age water cooler, flowing with sponsored Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy. It also creates a vehicle whereby brands can engage with audiences on multiple screens with unified messages, sponsoring specific prepackaged components tailored in advance and brought to life on stage and on the TV screen.

And the data bears this out. Take a look at the Twitter data about the VMAs. Nearly 18.5 million tweets were sent out. How big was Miley’s behind-shaking moment? It said Bye Bye Bye to the *NSync reunion with JT for top tweeted moment, averaging more than 300,000 TPM (tweets per minute). That’s nearly as many tweets per minute as Miley’s own TPM (twerks per minute) registered.

In fact, the VMAs had a bounce-back TV year with more than 10 million viewers. But the TV numbers only tell part of the story. Consider these data points provided by MTV parent, Viacom:

  • More than four million people visited VMA content on, mobile web, and the MTV app, generating more than 15 million total streams.
  • The live stream portion ranked as the biggest in Viacom’s history.
  • MTV mobile saw its biggest day ever with more than two million visitors, six million page views, and 1.8 million streams.

For brands, both producers of such content and brands that seek to associate and connect with target audiences, the VMAs is just the latest example of how TV and social continues to transform the potential reach possible with a target audience.

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