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Exclusive: An inside look at MTV’s social success with the Hangout Music Festival

Last weekend, Viacom’s MTV, VH1, CMT, Palladia and LOGO channels were down at the Hangout Music Festival leveraging social TV, traditional TV and an impressive multi-screen experience. The festival, on the gulf shores of Alabama has grown tremendously now in their 4th year. In addition to editorial coverage of the festival MTV, “wanted to evolve and extend our coverage model to extend to all screens, leaning heavily on social to help push out news coverage and VOD clips in real time, while also running a multi-camera live stream.” The hard work paid and MTV is sharing the results exclusively with Lost Remote. We also interviewed Dermot McCormack, head of Connected Content for Viacom Music & Logo Group about the big activation.

Here are the results from MTV and our interview with McCormack:

  • TOTAL LIKES, FB: 118,000
  • TOTAL TWITTER MENTIONS: 145k (Note, combines #hangoutfest, “hangout fest”
  • and “hangout festival”: comparable to a solid rating MTV show)
  • Nearly 1 million people engaged with Hangout content across our websites
  • Nearly half a million fans watched the live stream 

Lost Remote: Why was this a success?
Dermot McCormack: Hangout has quickly established itself as one of the best all around music festivals in the country. Working with festival founders, Shaul and Lily Zislin, and their team, we all saw a unique opportunity to bring our media and editorial spotlight to not only grow awareness for the festival, but also allow us to test out a few new multiscreen strategies. To pull that off, we leveraged all of our platforms (TV, web, mobile, and social) and tapped the great minds from Connected Content’s editorial network, which includes MTV News, VH1 News, CMT News, Buzzworthy and Hive.

From a strategy and editorial success standpoint, we challenged ourselves and in the end set a new bar for covering festivals. Over the course of the three days, we filed more than 300 news pieces that capture the music, moments and people that embodied the overall spirit of the festival. Looking to metrics, the live stream and editorial coverage alone reached more than half a million people, we landed 3 national trending topics, 570k likes on Instagram, and millions caught the news hits across MTV, VH1 and CMT throughout the weekend. Additionally, we also found a great ad partner with Pizza Hut, who launched its Discover Great program throughout the weekend, where its news teams will interview and cover some of the program’s hottest artists.

LR: How did you leverage social for the Hangout festival?
McCormack: With the tremendous reach we have across MTV, VH1 and CMT, we were able to expose Hangout to millions of fans over the course of the three days. Our social channels were critical to delivering real time festival coverage to our fans for that entire duration — who was performing at a given moment and who was upcoming, performance videos on demand, context and analysis from our music experts and special guest correspondents, and beautiful visual coverage of the attending fans and the Gulf Shores. This level of coverage combined with our community team’s constant, direct engagement with both the audience in attendance and those watching at home really empowered us to create a shared music experience that far transcended the festival grounds. We also rewarded engaged fans with tons of prizes, including 35 sets of three-day passes to next year’s event, and even a couple lifetime passes.

LR: What were the TV integrations?
McCormack: Throughout the weekend, MTV, VH1, CMT, MTV2, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, VH1 Classic, CMT Pure and Palladia featured news hits and festival highlights, hosted by MTV’s Sway and James Montgomery and VH1’s Jim Shearer. Later in the summer, Palladia will premiere a festival highlights special. Hangout coverage will continue through early next week, with segments on MTV’s “AMTV” and electronic dance music show “Clubland.”.

LR: What was the Instagram strategy?
McCormack: At MTV, VH1, CMT and Palladia, we have unmatched access to artists. Bringing Instagram’s unique aesthetic to bear on that access has been critical to gaining credibility and growing our communities in the space — MTV alone is one of Instagram’s most followed accounts — and this year’s incredible Hangout lineup against the backdrop of the white sands of the Gulf Shores was an incredible opportunity to deliver on that, and we didn’t miss it. We used Instagram to visually cover the festival in real time, bringing our fans mid-performance shots taken on-stage, pictures captured from within throngs of ecstatic fans in the audience, shots capturing Hangout as experienced by our guest correspondents, even photos shot from a helicopter conveying the full scope and natural beauty of the festival’s location. There was a lot of eye candy down there, and Instagram was a great platform to relay that component of the experience.

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