We know there is a trend towards tablet/smartphone ownership, social media and online video consumption among 18-34 year olds. In fact the mobile device is becoming the most important device in their lives. So it's no surprise that at VIMN we focus a lot of our energy on immersive digital and social media around our content. A large part of my job is a) identifying ways that multiplatform audience engagement can be fully integrated into our core brands and programmes; and b) unlocking opportunities to monetise social media by supercharging our linear business.
TV is at the centre of our business, but it's critical that we are structured so audiences can interact with our channels and programme brands in as many ways as possible. So for us, 'monetising social media' is about creating engagement while at the same time protecting and diversifying the revenues we generate around our brands.Multi-platform experiences
Let me be clear, the focus isn't simply about money. It's not as easy as 'build it and they will come'. Marketers should be on a mission to expand and deepen their brands across all platforms, creating premium content and engagement experiences that their audience values, or frankly they have no business being there. This mission is central to everything we do. But as a business, we need to see a return on that investment.
Viacom International Media Networks is the international networks division of one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. We have some of the most socially engaged audiences in the world and we're constantly striving to give our fans new ways to discover and connect with our content. Integrated solutions
This is particularly important when considering your relationship with advertisers and brand partners. If one of our clients, for example, is interested in Geordie Shore
or World Stage
, they want fully integrated brand solutions. You look at a property like the MTV EMA
and it's a complete 360 ad buy across TV, online, mobile, in house media and third party. Integrating Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest has to be value additive ensuring the audience spends as much time engaged on our own platforms as possible.Supercharging the Europe Music Awards
The MTV EMA are actually a great case study of how we supercharge our programmes, creating innovative, social, multi platform experiences that compliment TV. The 2011 MTV EMA were digitally our most successful at the time, generating 158 million votes. This was driven by the multi language MTV EMA website and mobile app, as well as social media gamification widgets empowered by partnerships with Bunchball
and live social interaction powered by AttracTV
For this month's MTV EMA we're building on that success and taking it to the next level. Multi screen, recommendation driven services are a core focus for us. The key is to create content and activities that will not only compliment our linear offering, but drive audiences back in the direction of the linear channels without duplicating what those channels set out to achieve. Basically, ensuring our MTV EMA multiplatform activities are designed not to replicate the show, but to supercharge them. At time of going to press, the 2012 MTV EMA announced a record-breaking 184 million votes from music fans online and on their mobile devices to help determine this year's winners.Scale/Local
We've also introduced more multi language mobile sites, leveraging our scale, innovation and local knowledge to generate more interest for the MTV EMA outside of Europe. Twitter
visualization allows for social commentary and will drive discussion and buzz; and music fans will discover social media based competitions and live interactive vidgets with AttracTV
that include quizzes, polls, virtual incentives, chat and sharing. We've also brought more social networks into the fold with Instagram
, all of which provide a richer and more interactive fan experience, drive engagement in our shows, and let's not forget, create more opportunities for sponsor integration.
At VIMN, we have built the multi platform foundations for an always-on, super-now, search-and-recommendation driven fan base. However, I'd be fooling you if I didn't say that with all this come significant challenges. For us, it's about finding ways to future proof our rights, so that any content assets we work with can be deployed in this way across every relevant device and window.
There is no denying the fact that as consumer behavior and markets evolve, it does impact the revenue mix. And it's a different mix depending on the country and market. But it should be incremental and not cannibalistic. We're focused on preserving the health of our core business lines whilst extending the reach of our content to multiple platforms - driving existing and new audiences through social media engagement and 360 support. The aim is to expand the overall reach of our brands and provide a wider footprint for our advertising and brand partners, as well as new distribution opportunities. At the centre of all this however, is delivering more exciting, engaging and inclusive entertainment to our fans.
Philip O'Ferrall is SVP, Viacom International Media Networks Digital
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