While the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a major wrench in the plans of every 2020 awards show — with many operating remotely or outright canceling — the MTV VMAs are forging ahead with an evening that will mix virtual segments and outdoor, socially distanced performances in New York City on Sunday (Aug. 30). Hosted by Keke Palmer and boasting TV debuts for BTS’ “Dynamite” and Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain On Me,” plenty of moments already have fans buzzing on social media – and speculating how, exactly, everyone involved is going to pull off a performance-stuffed show amidst a pandemic that has sidelined nearly every element of American life.
So It should come as no surprise that ahead of the 2020 VMAs, with so many question marks in the air, social engagement numbers are up year-over-year, even more so than the year-over-year boost the VMAs saw in 2019. According to data from Conviva, Tubular, Snapchat Analytics and TikTok measuring the period from July 20-Aug. 25, social engagement is up 172% compared to the comparable lead-in period last year; per those same sources in addition to Facebook Stories and YouTube Stories, social video views for VMA content are up 80% year over year. Organic social buzz for this year’s presentation is also up 193% compared to last year, per Talkwalker.
Fan voting – which is still open in two categories – is also up this year in online engagement: Unique votes are up by 216% and total votes are up by 223%, per Telescope, in the period running July 30-Aug. 25 (international votes are up 83% in the same date range, per Omniture).
We’ll find out next week what the program’s traditional TV ratings are – and with the VMAs airing on network channel The CW, it should prove interesting – as well as what the digital viewership of the show looks like. Naturally, MTV being a brand that captures a younger audience than most cable channels, a number of VMA curious viewers will forgo sitting down in front of the TV entirely and opt to check out segments of the VMAs via various digital outlets. And in that realm, the VMAs can at least point to an increase in year-over-year pre-show engagement for 2020 as they prep for perhaps the most logistically challenging evening in the show’s history.