“Need to Know” is MTV News’s award-winning flagship video franchise that uses entertainment stories as an entry point to analyze complex issues that matter most to Gen Z and millennials; topics like, social justice, climate activism and mental health. This is not to be confused with a celebrity gossip show. “Need To Know” doesn’t simply join the conversation, rather we spark conversations by giving viewers fresh takes on trending news. The hope is our audience understands the way many pop-culture stories relate to the world at large. Dua Lipa not performing at the World Cup in support of LGBTQ+ rights, Eric André and Clayton English calling out racial profiling at an airport, and Lizzo’s tribute to Annie Lee through her SNL set are examples of the cross-sectional storytelling we share on a weekly basis.
Our host Dometi Pongo, has journalistic and cultural credentials that run deep. In his hometown of Chicago, Dometi planted his roots in radio, journalism, political activism, and hip-hop. As the host of “Need to Know,” Dometi serves as a reliable interpreter of our cultural landscape. He offers viewers thought-provoking analyses of the stories everyone is talking about (and debating) that day.
Every show day, the “Need to Know” team will research, write, shoot and edit a video all within an eight hour span. We’ll sift through the day’s trending stories, and then select one based on what we believe is a timely cross of youth culture and entertainment. With the use of quotes from experts, and social media posts from young and diverse perspectives, we aim to paint a full picture, instead of a divisive one. Following script writing, we hold a table read for the team to voice suggestions or flag concerns before going into the final steps of shooting and editing. Being a small team with a tight turnaround poses its challenges, yet it’s pushed each member to grow and become a master of all trades.
The numbers speak for themselves, and the data shows there’s been major growth in the amount of people who watch the show. We started 2022 with a total of 5.3 million views, and steadily increased views to 15 million; that’s an 181 percent increase. We also saw user engagement with our videos rise by 80 percent. Since launching on Twitter in 2018, the show has continued to grow in more ways than one. It not only continues to build a following, but it’s now been rolled out to other platforms. The positive feedback we have received from fans aligns with focus group results that proved our coverage and host are considered reliable, trustworthy, and entertaining.