Just in case you were feeling like there just aren't enough Big! Live! awards ceremonies out there, YouTube is planning one of its own. The Google-owned online video platform has announced that this November, right between the BET Hip Hop Awards and the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards, we’ll have another chance to watch performers collect statuettes, at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards.
YouTube has transformed the music industry. It's now one of the first places people go to check out new songs and videos their favorite artists just dropped. It's also changed the way to become someone's favorite artist. So why would a new media disruptor like YouTube want to do something as old-media as host an awards show?
Danielle Tiedt, vice president of marketing at YouTube, says it will be a “different kind” of awards show. “It's really about celebrating the role that YouTube has in the music ecosystem, and what fans are really doing for music today,” she says.
The show will be broadcast on YouTube, not television. Nominations will be based on YouTube analytic data. Actor and indy darling Jason Schwarztman will host the awards show, and, as he told YouTube viewers in a promo released yesterday, “You decide who wins. It's all about you, the fans. This is a night for you!”
But it will also be a night for YouTube, says entertainment industry analyst Robert Galinksy. “Awards ceremonies are really just the organization giving the award to themselves every single time, because they're propagating their brand,” he says.
An awards show is all about “marketing razzmatazz," says Arash Amel, a Hollywood producer and screenwriter who for many years worked as a new media and entertainment industry analyst. “If the show is executed well, and it's well received, it generates very positive buzz for the brand," he says.
The familiar format of an awards ceremony is also useful for YouTube in that it is a “known quantity,” says Galinksy, and that can attract sponsorships from big companies that might otherwise be wary of advertising on the site. The car company Kia is the major sponsor for the YouTube awards.
“New media is very intimidating to a lot of current companies,” Galinsky says. “There’s a certain mystery to it.” An awards ceremony can be a more accessible entry point that allows advertisers to partner with YouTube and "not wonder 'where's the hidden value in this for me?’ It’s very clear -- your ad will pre-roll before this award or your sponsorship will be about this particular achievement that we’re going to grant somebody with,” he says.
And there's one more benefit to YouTube in launching an awards ceremony-- one that Miley Cyrus reminded us of recently during the MTV Video Music Awards: spectacles that happen during an awards show can bring YouTube lots of hits when they go viral.
YouTube’s Danielle Tiedt says the company wants their awards show to be exciting too, “but hopefully no twerking.”