Snapchat, Viacom in Pact for ‘MTV Video Music Awards’ (Exclusive)

Four advertisers lined up for Live Story treatment

Snapchat VMA MTV
Courtesy of MTV

Snapchat and Viacom have struck their first deal, which will be in support of  an ad-supported Live Story for Sunday’s “MTV Video Music Awards.”

The “VMA” Live Story will draw from Snapchat users who will be able to get access to red carpet, backstage and other parts of the event that may not necessarily be seen on TV. Geofilters will also be provided that allow users on the scene to select “VMA”-branded graphics to adorn the photos or videos they capture.

“We believe in the power of the Snapchat platform and in the power of our own platform,” said Jeff Lucas, head of sales and marketing at Viacom Media Networks. “Put the two together, and they get even stronger.”

Participating advertisers in the Live Story are Taco Bell, Verizon, American Legacy and Covergirl — all had already signed on as advertisers for “VMA” on TV via Viacom. Snapchat offered only four 10-second slots for marketers, according to Lucas, who said the advertisers that committed to the live story were the first four approached to participate.

“When they came to us with this opportunity, we jumped at it,” said Ryan Rimsnider, senior manager of social strategy at Taco Bell.

Snapchat is aligning its Live Story format with a growing number of televised events including the Grammys, Golden Globes and last week’s “Teen Choice Awards.” That has helped attract advertisers including Coke, P&G and Universal, who provide revenue that can be split between Snapchat and participating TV networks.

With the “VMAs” one of the biggest opportunities the TV schedule provides for marketers to reach young auds tuning in for chart-topping artists, Snapchat allows MTV to extend that reach.

“Partnering with Viacom on the ‘VMAs’ allows Snapchatters around the world a window into the fans experience from one of the most anticipated and exciting awards show of the year,” said Ben Schwerin, director of partnerships at Snapchat, in a statement. “They feel like they are actually there celebrating with their favorite artists.”

A Live Story is a sequence of photos and/or videos taken of a particular event or place that are curated by Snapchat and transmitted to its young-skewing global platform, which can drive tens of millions of eyeballs to that footage. Live Stories have been produced for everything from Coachella to presidential campaign stops, and some like “VMA” are becoming sponsored plays such as a weekly edition featuring Major League Baseball.