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Future of TV MTV Virtual Reality (VR)

An inside look at the MTV EMAs and their VR live stream


By Natan Edelsburg | SVP

October 26, 2015 | 7 min read

Virtual Reality (VR) appears to be the new black.



As part of the MTV EMAs that aired last night in Milan the network became the "first global music award show to fully integrate a live virtual reality viewing experience," by, placing cameras on the red carpet and in the main show, allowing fans in markets around the world to choose where to look, giving them a "unique and individual interactive virtual reality experience".

In recent years the EMAs have been as big a playing ground for the network to experiment with new digital and social technologies and their sister tent pole the VMAs.

An Instagram Boomerang booth was also featured for talent to leverage the platform's new video experience that allows for one second loops (take that Vine).

The Instagram team provided the following comment to Found Remote on why they decided to work with the VMAs to push their new platform.

Instagram has teamed up with MTV to host an exclusive backstage Boomerang studio at the 2015 MTV EMAs, where artists and stars can capture and Instagram their own Boomerang videos. The backstage booth is formed of a semi-circle of LED screens playing fast moving images, which will generate live action Booms. Instagram launched Boomerang earlier this week to give Instagrammers another way to express their creativity. It's a standalone app that helps people turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected. Boomerang takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and back. We've already seen loads of stars including Karlie Kloss, Neymar and Miranda Kerr share Booms with their fans on Instagram. We can't wait for the stars at the EMAs to create their own Booms and bring to life all of the action from the EMAs in a way that's never been seen before.

Instagram collaborating with MTV for the EMAs makes perfect sense. The MTV EMAs is one of the biggest global music events of the year and Instagram is a community of global music creators and fans. One in four of the most popular accounts on Instagram are from musicians and 75 per cent of the community is outside of the USA. Music fans come to Instagram as it's where they can build an authentic connection with the artists they love and get closer to music events around the world, as they happen. With global stars posting live from the red carpet, sharing exclusive behind the scenes images and creating one-off Booms, Instagram is giving music fans unique and exclusive access to one of the biggest events in the music calendar.

Found Remote interviewed Philip O’Ferrall, head of Velocity International about its big efforts with the VMAs.

Found Remote: What are the digital plans for the show and what's new from last year?

Philip O’Ferrall: We know we have to be everywhere our audience is, experimenting with new platforms and giving them opportunities to engage with our content in a deeper way.

And, as our audiences’ consumption habits change, so do our EMA digital plans.

As you will have seen from previous MTV EMAs, digital and social are at the core of the build-up to the show. Starting weeks prior, the whole social media and voting campaign kicks off on all platforms to start generating excitement for the show. We’re now at more than half a billion votes worldwide.

This year, we’re also very excited to team up with Instagram to host a backstage Boomerang studio where artists and musicians can capture and Instagram their own Boomerang style videos. We are also working closely with Snapchat, and featuring live content on Vine, Facebook, Twitter and Periscope throughout the night.

Importantly, we produce content tailored to each platform; it's not the same content on all platforms, but we take advantage of each environment.

FR: Do you take learnings from VMAs for the EMAs?

PO: That’s the benefit of being a large, global company with so many events throughout the year – all of our shows can share learnings. From the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, to the MTV Millennial Awards in Mexico – which was created with social media stars at the center – through to the VMAs, and many others.

We wanted to build on the VMAs red carpet virtual reality stream by bringing the audiences inside the actual show live – to get all of the performances and pop culture mayhem up close and personal via virtual reality.

FR: Why did you decide to live stream in VR? What partners are you working with?

PO: We believe audiences are trending towards VR, but it’s not mainstream just yet.

We’re excited by the possibilities of virtual reality, especially for events and performances. It gives viewers a new perspective, and a more immersive experience. As a youth brand, we have to continuously push boundaries and we want to give our audiences the most interesting, engaging experience possible.

It also made sense for us to stream in VR this year as we have a dedicated product to support the EMAs on iOS and android. Each year we look for ways to delight the fans, and keep our app on the forefront of technology with new features that can also bring value to advertisers. It wouldn't make sense to have an app without offering a unique and engaging experience.

FR: How will you be tracking the success?

PO: We will be looking at downloads and app usage, but we really view this as a test case. So, right now our focus is on giving our audience an incredible, immersive experience they haven’t experienced before at a global music awards show.

FR: How is the European TV market different than US?

PO: The MTV EMAs air in 160+ countries, so they travel beyond the European market. Although each market varies, the one thing that connects all is a love for music and pop culture – which is why this show works so well.

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Future of TV MTV Virtual Reality (VR)

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