Network: MTV

Date: August 28, 2011

Viewers: 12.4

Key to Success: Own the online chatter

The 2011 Video Music Awards, with a lead-in of Jersey Shore many called the “Snooki Bump,” not only shattered records for the biggest VMA audience ever, but also became the single most-watched telecast in MTV’s history as a network.

MTV hedged its bets in Twitter integrations this year, hoping that everything from Lady Gaga in drag to Beyoncé’s baby bump would create significant online chatter. In fact, the moment at which Beyoncé announced her pregnancy on the air, the VMAs broke the record for tweets per second and for the night of the show alone, Twitter reported more than 3 million tweets included #VMA.

For the Hot Seat and Paparazzi features on MTV’s website and MTV’s WatchWith social app, launched this summer, MTV teamed up with the Nokia Theatre to map celebrities’ tweets at their seats, and highlighted fans’ Twitter avatars who tweeted about the show or retweeted those celebrities, visualizing the most popular paparazzi photos on the black carpet on the Twitter Tracker.

“When you add in elements like the Twitter Tracker, it gives you a place to go and to interact with any and every conversation going on in the Twitter space regarding VMA,” said Damon Burrell, VP of consumer marketing at MTV.

As winners were announced on the show, MTV also allowed fans to access a real-time winners list on the site and its social and mobile platforms, then congratulate the Moonman-winning artists via Twitter handles. As an effort to own the content as much as possible and to bypass outside video outlets like YouTube, VMA fans could access big show moments in video through MTV platforms and share them immediately to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and StumbleUpon in real time via the social app.

“I think this year was a good example of much greater synergy across all these different platforms,” said Colin Helms, VP of digital media at “With the ecosystem we’ve created through core properties and the social platforms that we work with, I think we’ve struck on a winning formula of how things are all related and how they feed into each other.”


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