MTV International's MTV EMA is a one of the biggest global music events of the year that celebrates the hottest artists from around the world. The MTV EMA brings music fans a unique, multi-platform experience across MTV's global network in nearly 180 countries and 450 million homes around the world. The 2018 MTV EMA took place in Bilbao, Spain.
After 25 years of EMA broadcasts, our fans have come to expect new and interesting ways to engage with their favourite artists each year. And as a business, we have a goal of driving innovation to keep those fans engaged and continually increasing video views on our digital content.
For the 2018 show, mobile was a primary platform to accomplish both of those goals. The EMA mobile app (on iPhone and Android, available globally in 11 languages) kept fans hyper-engaged with standard features like EMA news and click-to-vote category voting as well as innovative features like VR video experiences & augmented reality voting.
Bilbao is a city famous for its rich culture of art, particularly the world-famous Guggenheim Museum. To highlight the city's culture, the theme of the 2018 MTV EMA revolved around art and design: museums, paint, sculptures, art heists, and more. And we extended that theme into our mobile experience, giving fans innovative ways to engage with their favourite global artists.
Voting with AR Sculptures:
We built a creative never-been-done-before AR voting experience that allowed fans to vote for their favourite Biggest Fans category nominee by creating and sharing customized AR sculptures of each artist. Biggest Fans is an award that allows fandoms from some of the hottest artists in the world to rally together to declare themselves the Biggest Fans of the artist. This year's nominees – Taylor Swift, BTS, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, and Selena Gomez – have extremely passionate fans, so leveraging them was a no-brainer to help achieve our business goals.
Within the EMA mobile app, music and art collided! Fans created customized 3D AR sculptures of the artists nominated for Biggest Fans. First, fans would select the artist they wanted to vote for. Then they would customize the sculpture by adding various artistic elements like paint, mini-EMA trophies, and other digital design elements. Once the design was complete, fans could place their AR sculpture in their environment; whether it be their living room, bedroom, or out on the city street. The experience made it seem like you had a real-life, 3D sculpture of your favorite artist wherever you wanted, with your personal artwork adding an authentic touch. When fans shared their creation with friends from the app, it counted as a vote for that artist.
While a simple idea in theory, we had to find solutions for a number of technical challenges to ensure the user experience and end product was never compromised. We also had to create, design, produce and publish the product in the Apple App & Google Play stores within the limited timelines a live global show can afford. We imported 3D models – inclusive of all artistic elements and ability to resize the object with all the assets together -- to create a one-of-a-kind user experience for voting that had never been done before. Throughout the development cycle, we ensured the iOS and Android experiences, leveraging ARKit and ARCore respectively, were consistent so that fans could experience on any device they were on.
Get a front-row seat with VR performances:
Additionally, knowing artist performances are a key driver to digital and linear viewership, we gave fans an additional, up-close-and-personal way to experience the show. We streamed every performance in 360-degree virtual reality within the EMA app from multiple cameras embedded on stage. Fans could watch performances live (and on VOD) and feel as if they were actually in Bilbao.
The app also included EMA voting, actionable vote notifications and vote reminders, show and artist news, social content, and EMA iMessage stickers to share with their friends.
The nominees for Biggest Fans and EMA performers are some of the most beloved stars in the world, and creating these mobile experiences helped drive new users to the EMA app to create their AR sculpture and view VR performances. AR social posts received hundreds of thousands of video views.
Overall, the mobile campaign was a huge success: page views were up 499%, we increased EMA app downloads by 13% YoY, and LIVE VR viewing of the show was up 26%.
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