MTV Offers Twitter Visualization Tool, Interactive Video Feed and Other Enhancements for VMA's

MTV offered a range of interactive and new media enhancements to complement its broadcast of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night.

The broadcaster teamed with social media measurement company, Radian6, and design firm, Stamen, to develop a "Twitter visualization" tool that it billed as allowing it to track "the real-time aggregate activity and volume of buzz" around what was happening live on and before the show, and then report on air about how viewers were responding to the show's various entertainments and celebrity appearances (note: video blogger, iJustine, served as MTV's official VMA "Twitter Correspondent," interpreting Twitter comments during the red carpet pre-show). A tag cloud created by Radian6 tracked tweets about designated celebrities, including VMA performers, nominees, attendees and hosts, and fed that data into a visual interactive application that was hosted on The application's user interface, which was designed by Stamen, expanded a celebrity's image as Twitter tag cloud activity around that celebrity increased. MTV, which says that Radian6's dashboard and real-time alerts enabled it to monitor and react on the fly to trending topics on Twitter, plans to host the Twitter visualization app on a special page within the VMA site on in order to encourage, and monitor, post-show fan interaction. "MTV is always looking to build on our strengths of creating and curating content that our audience will enjoy," general manager, Kristin Frank, said in a prepared statement. "We've found that by concentrating on our core competencies and regularly working together with third parties such as Radian6 and Stamen, we're creating a truly complementary experience for our viewers that we know are multitasking as they watch events such as the VMA's." Added Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone: "MTV's enthusiasm for engaging directly with their audience through Twitter is inspiring. It's encouraging to see television evolving into a more interactive medium." also hosted an interactive "Watch and Discuss" video feed during the pre-show and the show itself. Alongside the feed, which was delivered via an embedded video player and sponsored exclusively by Sonic, a Facebook "Live Stream Box" allowed fans to comment on what they were watching live, and automatically posted their comments to their Facebook profiles (thus promoting the VMA show to their Facebook friends). The player streamed a special multi-camera feed from the pre-show and from within the side-stage areas of the main show. also featured a Twitter module that aggregated tweets about the VMA's, and a "Headlines" module that pulled in MTV's latest news stories and blog posts about the awards.

Other interactive and new media enhancements around the awards included:

  • A "VMA Red Carpet Report" fashion interview program on, hosted by solo artist, Adrienne Bailon, which posted continuously throughout the show.
  • A "New Moon" Trailer Countdown Widget that was created by MTV News for "Twilight" fans interested in having a first look at the trailer of the second movie in that franchise, which aired live during the awards. The trailer was also made available on, together with a preview of the Death Cab for Cutie song, "New Moon," from the upcoming movie's soundtrack.
  • A "clickable map" from MTV News, which used a Google Maps interface to display all its VMA articles, blogs, photos and videos by location.
  • Photo flipbooks devoted to red carpet fashion, show highlights and behind-the-scenes action. The flipbooks' content was refreshed into the small hours of Monday morning.
  • User-generated content search for "Justin's Biggest Fan," a contest in which viewers were invited to upload a video explanation of why they are the biggest fan of teen idol, Justin Bierber (note: Bierber gave the winning video a "shout out" from the MTV News VMA pre-show program).
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