MTV drew 12 million views on Snapchat during VMAs

Snapchat proved a worthy second screen for MTV’s Video Music Awards: A full 12 million people watched the Live Story from the event, according to sources. The Snapchat audience technically exceeded the actual ratings of the broadcast and shows why networks and brands are supporting these alternative viewing options.

Last Sunday, the Video Music Awards made headlines for Justin Bieber’s tear-jerking performance, the feud between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus, and Kanye West’s presidential announcement. On TV, 9.8 million people tuned in, which represents the average viewership over the course of the broadcast, not necessarily the full tally of everyone who caught a portion of the show. On Snapchat, the average Live Story viewer watched for about three minutes, according to sources.

The Live Story featured a behind-the-scenes look at the event, with videos shared from the red carpet and the audience.

“This shows that when you put the two together — TV and online — they are powerful,” said Jeff Lucas, head of sales and marketing at Viacom Media Networks, which owns MTV. “I don’t think one excludes the other. Those days are over where people are watching in just one place.”

The TV broadcast’s 9.8 million viewers represented a 5 percent drop from last year. Lucas said it’s difficult to say whether the TV audience was actually lower than the Snapchat one because viewers are measured differently on each platform.

Lucas would not discuss the specifics of the MTV Snapchat stats. Other numbers revealed by sources showed that ads in the Live Story had a 28 percent completion rate.

Taco Bell, Covergirl and Verizon sponsored MTV’s Live Story with 10-second spots that played between the videos shared by users.

“That’s an exceptionally strong live audience number and a great example of how Snapchat is naturally redefining the dual-screen viewing experience for post-millennials,” said Gian LaVecchia, MEC’s head of digital content marketing in North America. “It adds another really unique and powerful dimension to what is already a distinct programming platform.”

The VMAs proved popular on other digital channels as well, such as Twitter, which has long been a go-to place for social conversation during live events. The VMAs had the most tweets of any event this year, excluding the Super Bowl, with 21.4 million.

Viacom has a close relationship with Snapchat and manages a Comedy Central channel in the Discover section of the app. Just yesterday, the comedy network announced it would create four Snapchat-only shows.