The "MTV Video Music Awards" have a long-standing history in multi-platform digital innovation, owed largely to MTV's commitment to reinvent the VMA experience year after year, ensuring the network's connected fans have access to the biggest, freshest, and most cutting-edge activations on multiple devices. One of the goals of the 2015 "MTV Video Music Awards" was to exceed expectations like never before by leveraging the latest VR technology along with the power of MTV VMA All Access Live, an award-winning multi-screen experience, to bring fans closer than ever in real time to the VMA pre-show red carpet. Clearly demonstrating early insight into the impact virtual reality will have on the industry, MTV set out to become one of the first networks to fully integrate a live 360 virtual reality viewing experience into its red carpet pre-show and to complement the main show with additional VR content, taking a historic step in cross-platform storytelling.
Building off the record-breaking multiplatform success of the "MTV Video Music Awards" in previous years, the network aimed to once again reinvent its multiscreen approach to the VMAs in 2015 and set a new standard for what can be achieved in storytelling. MTV partnered with IM360, a full-service virtual reality studio and technology company, and became one of the first networks to fully integrate a live 360 virtual reality viewing experience into its red carpet pre-show. The activation was a welcome addition to the award-winning MTV VMA All Access Live platform, the award show's multiscreen experience featuring exclusive live streams of content across web, mobile and tablets.
To prepare for the live show specifically, MTV collaborated with IM360 and the VMA pre-show producers, scenic designers and art directors for months leading up to the broadcast. Through careful research and experimentation, the teams worked to create a red carpet layout designed specifically to capture the right curves, angles, and heights conducive to virtual reality production. Additionally, ahead of the VMAs, MTV tested the virtual reality cameras and ultimate experience by filming "Americas Best Dance Crew 360 – Road to the VMAs". The show piece was extremely well received and by taking lessons learned from that taping, MTV moved toward the VMAs to bring the ultimate 360 virtual reality experience.
After all the careful preparation and collaboration, during the 2015 "MTV Video Music Awards" pre-show, fans could easily access the 360 virtual reality live stream on desktop via MTV.com or on mobile via the IM360 app, which was available as a free download for iOS and Android. Viewers on desktop could use their mouse to navigate the scene in real time, while mobile users could get a 360 view of the area by simply moving their device in any direction. Additionally, the mobile experience was optimized so fans could also use Google Cardboard. The result was a fully immersive experience that brought fans carpet-side among their favorite artists and celebrities like never before. The live virtual reality cameras were positioned on the Red Carpet Step & Repeat and above the VMA Puppy Pit, sponsored by the ASPCA, so fans could get a unique perspective of the carpet while seeing celebrities interact with puppies in real time.
In addition to the live stream, MTV and IM360 captured additional virtual reality content using a roving 360 camera that was available to fans after the show. Virtual reality cameras were positioned on the red carpet to capture celebrity arrivals, while another was placed within the audience inside the Microsoft Theater to capture an immersive experience of the VMA main show. All of the content was available after the live broadcast on demand via MTV's YouTube channel and MTV.com.
At the 2015 "MTV Video Music Awards," the network once again set the bar for award show innovation and audience engagement. MTV became one of the first networks ever to fully integrate a live 360 virtual reality viewing experience into its red carpet pre-show and following the Awards, provided fans with even more 360 virtual reality content for a never-before-seen view from inside the show. In all, the experience garnered millions of views and allowed MTV to reach new heights in immersive multiplatform storytelling.