MTV Introduces Revamped, Immersive Co-Viewing App
One screen just isn’t enough to cover all the drama, hilarity, and reality going on at MTV and its sister channels, but one app may do the trick.
Viacom Music and Logo Group have announced the launch of comprehensive video and co-viewing apps for each of its banner brands that will feature a new immersive experience, providing fans unmatched access to the networks’ programs.
The MTV and MTV2 apps previously offered have been combined and are ready for an upgrade on any iOS device (iPhone or iPad) as of midnight EST on June 13. Plans to “re-skin” the app for VH1, CMT, and LOGO on Apple products, as well as plans to launch the consolidated MTV app on Android and Xbox products, should be completed by the end of the year.
Apps like MTV Watchwith and VH1 Costar have previously existed as second-screen vehicles for the channels’ programming, but were rated poorly by customers due to their tendencies to crash and their lack of original programming.
The new interactive app aims to improve the co-viewing functionality by weaving in contextual overlay, offering real-time facts, photo galleries, and even edited script pages that correspond continuously with the current television program.
The app will seamlessly promote the social aspect of viewing, presenting a “social dashboard” that collects tweets from fans via hashtags and keywords specific to the show, displays tweets from the cast and crew, and connects users to their Facebook friends who are also watching the program.
“Our goal is to strengthen and build the connectivity with our fans everywhere they are,” Viacom's executive vp connected content Kristin Frank tells The Hollywood Reporter. “[The app] helps us because we’ve been championing this idea of storytelling without borders. If we tell stories across all platforms, it’s not just linear television, and they can all tie together so seamlessly.”
The new app will also provide subscribers with full-length episodes of programs both past and present. The most recent full episodes of Teen Wolf and Catfish will be accessible, as will select retro programming like Laguna Beach and Beavis and Butt-head. This reflects a desire by Viacom execs to provide “authenticated TV Everywhere and video-on-demand,” a development that will likely please at least two generations of MTV viewers.
Executives hinted excitement at launching the app in advance of August’s MTV Video Music Awards. The most popular live program on the network will be increasingly enhanced for the audience through the app, which will exclusively offer immediate behind-the-scenes clips, numerous camera angles, and a live-stream of the red carpet.
Naturally, users will be able to freely access thousands of digital clips, including MTV News and MTV Buzzworthy, plus additive original content from all original programming, including webisodes and after-shows.
The third prong to the app launch will be the development of MTV Other, a uniquely digital platform that will act as an “incubator of ideas and talent” for all platforms as well as a creator of new-form video content. The studio will focus its programming on indie and underground subjects and personalities. Shows already planned include “Late Night Munchies”, an exhibition of foods for fourth-meal fiends, and “Showbiz,” a journey into the streets to find the people who roam them in the early morning. MTV Other programming will be featured on the new MTV app from its launch.
“From a philosophical standpoint, we want to make it easier for the fan too, which is why we were focused on the app consolidation,” Frank concludes. “We want people to use the app on a daily basis and provide them with multiple experiences.”
Viacom also announced Wednesday that MTV, VH1 and CMT will celebrate "Music Independence Day" on July 4. The 12-hour block of music will be an opportunity to broadcast performances from emerging artists and help them build their fan bases.