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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

2023 MTV Video Music Awards - POV: VMA

Gold Honor in Live Video


Sure, the word “innovation” gets thrown around willy nilly, but dammit - we can’t help but love it! We crave it! We strive for it! So in 2023, the MTV Social Events team hid in a cave for several months and then emerged with a new baby called POV: VMA. We had several goals in mind: concoct something that felt fresh, while incorporating some of the timeless backstage elements that never go out of style. Package it into a robust plan that would attract sponsors. Make sure that it could feel intentional across multiple social platforms, while feeling complementary to the VMA broadcast. Find ways to be playful and experimental. And of course, make sure that people actually wanna pay attention!

Strategy and Execution

After years of producing co-viewing livestreams, we’ve learned that it all has to start from one crucial piece - the celeb audience cams. You gotta have the audience cams. From there, we wanted to introduce elements that could bring the audience closer than ever before to the VMA experience. Could we possibly find celebs who would be willing to film their night on a phone, while live, from their perspective?

So with a hefty arsenal of phones, broadcast cameras, and robotic backstage cams, the POV: VMA team spread out within the VMA venue to document the vibes in real time as the show aired on TV. The mission was to visualize the VMA experience as if fans were at the venue with an all-access pass.

We put cameras in the hands of VMA guests, including Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Rita Ora, and RuPaul’s Drag Race standout Kandy Muse. Markell Washington documented his experience at the Doritos side stage. We even followed a backstage photographer and producer to integrate crew perspectives. We wanted it all!

POV: VMA (or affectionately, “POVMA”) was produced to be platform intentional. While we streamed a 16x9 version on YouTube, Facebook and X, our 9x16 stream was directed separately - designed to feel even more intimate, more first-hand, and less polished than the other. 

Partnering with Snapchat, we integrated AR lenses into a backstage livestream for the first time! While we had some fun with Snap classics, we also designed custom lenses including a dancing Moon Person that displayed fan photos on the visor.

For a little something extra, fans had the chance to play their part by voting in polls on Instagram, TikTok and X and telling us what they wanted to see in the stream.

Of course MTV + VMA accounts re-posted ‘POV’ highlights, and it wasn’t long before certain moments spread like wildfire. Eagle-eyed fans created montages and memes from the celeb audience cams, while press outlets got in on the fun too. Images of Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez in the VMA audience ran rampant on TikTok and Instagram for weeks, and even months later they’re still popping up on our feeds.


The debut of POV: VMA exceeded our hopes and dreams. With a powerful assist from some particularly captivating VMA guests, not only did it perform beyond expectations on show night, it took on a life of its own well past inception.

When the night was over, POV: VMA content raked up:
- 42M views on owned MTVE accounts
- 2.3M engagements on owned MTVE accounts
- Over 20M minutes of watch time
- Trended #2 on YouTube 
- The top fan video with the #vmas hashtag on TikTok utilized POV footage and had over 44.8M views on that single video alone.

And an immeasurable flood of clips, memes, compilations and coverage that spread way beyond our three-hour livestream.


Video for 2023 MTV Video Music Awards - POV: VMA

Entrant Company / Organization Name

MTV Entertainment Studios

Entry Credits