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An Inside Look at Viacom’s Cross-Platform Coverage of the Hangout Music Festival

3-SunsetViacom Music Group today has announced its plans to provide fans with more access than ever to the Hangout Music Festival across all screens. The festival takes place each year in Gulf Shores, Alabama and features big-name acts alongside up-and-coming artists. MTV, Palladia, and VH1 will each provide coverage across linear, digital, and social, and fans will be able to stream the entire festival at Hangout.MTV.com from May 16 – May 18 .

“With our coverage of Hangout, we’re not simply setting up a camera and live streaming the jumbotron, like some people do, but rather telling the story behind the artist, their song and the spirit of the festival,” Dermot McCormack, Head of Connected Content for Viacom Music & Logo Group, told Lost Remote. “On the streaming front alone, we’ve enlisted MTV News’ Sway Calloway and VH1′s Jim Shearer to host a programmed feed that will feature the best performances, but also provide fans with festival highlights of the artists, music, styles and fans that are defining the spirit of the festival and whatever else we stumble upon. Who knows what might happen!”

On TV, Palladia will exclusively air The Killers’ entire performance live (Saturday at 10:00 p.m. ET) and MTV will air a 30-minute Hangout special (Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET) showcasing some of the best performances and moments from the festival; VH1 will air a two-hour special featuring interviews and performances from some of the major artists performing at Hangout (Saturday at 9:00 a.m. ET).

McCormack “believe[s] this is the most ambitious multiscreen coverage of a music festival to date.” On the social and digital fronts, MTV, VH1 and Palladia will leverage their Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat accounts and dot-come editorial coverage to connect fans to the festival going-ons. The feeds will also feature updates from social media correspondents including iJustine, Logan Paul and Sam Pepper.

Lost Remote spoke with McCormack about the decision to provide streaming access and coverage of the entire festival, Viacom’s social strategy, and how Hangout – and the company’s coverage of it – differs from the host of other summer music festivals.

Lost Remote: Why provide streaming access to the entire festival?

Dermot McCormack: We wanted to create a fun experience that not only drives discovery and emotional connection to the artists and performances but also gives you a real sense of the festival , what it stands for and what its actually like to be there . With our coverage of Hangout, we’re not simply setting up a camera and live streaming the jumbotron (like some people do), but rather telling the story behind the artist, their song and the spirit of the festival. On the streaming front alone, we’ve enlisted MTV News’ Sway Calloway and VH1′s Jim Shearer to host a programmed feed that will feature the best performances, but also provide fans with festival highlights of the artists, music, styles and fans that are defining the spirit of the festival and whatever else we stumble upon. Who knows what might happen!

LR: What will your social coverage look like?

McCormack: Social and mobile have really changed the game in how we can cover events like these. In many ways social will serve as the front door into the larger experience. Throughout the weekend, we’ll feature a real-time feed that will pull in all the best Hangout content into MTV, VH1 and Palladia’s Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and editorial coverage, connecting fans at home to the experience on the ground. The feed will also feature updates from our social media correspondents that include iJustine, Logan Paul and Sam Pepper. Additionally, fans can check out on-demand performance and artist interviews via the MTV and VH1 Artists App and on Xbox.

LR: What separates Viacom Music Group’s coverage of the Hangout Music Festival from the scores of other summer music festivals popping up?

McCormack: We believe this is the most ambitious multiscreen coverage of a music festival to date. Rather than just live stream the festival, we’re really leveraging the power of three of our music brands  – MTV, VH1 and Palladia – to create an ecosystem that migrates content and audiences across web, mobile, social and television. We’re providing fans several points of entry – web, mobile, television, social – and essentially allowing them to choose their own adventure. For example, a casual fan can follow the updates on social, cut ins on TV and then watch the 30 minute special on MTV on Sunday. A more passionate fan can watch the live streams of the acts he/she cares about, then share the content on social and watch The Killers live set on Palladia on Sat and highlights show on Sunday. The hardcore fan can spend their whole weekend with their laptop, phone and TV on and experience non-stop Hangout. We very much want to be screen aware but screen agnostic and serve up stories in new ways and in the places our audiences want them.

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