For VH1’s 2012 Divas special, a more social experience

By Alex Weprin 

VH1 is planning a suite of social-friendly elements to this year’s “VH1 Divas” special. We spoke to VH1 senior VP of VH1 digital Dan Sacher and VP of shows and events at VH1 digital Jon Mallow about what the network had planned for the event, which airs this Sunday, December 16 at 9 PM.

“We target the female viewer in their mid-20s,” Sacher said.  “That female viewer that is doing more on social and creating more social content than anyone else on the web is a great foil for us. We know that we have to feed that beast, to give them as much content and as much social fodder to share that great content in their social circles.”

One of the biggest features will be the “Twitter Tracker,” which will track what people are buzzing about on the real-time service. Other specials in the MTV Networks have used the Twitter Tracker technology, but this year will mark the first time that VH1 takes advantage of it. In addition to tracking the artists and trends (promoted and organic) that will arise throughout the night, the tracker will monitor what photos people are sharing.

“We regularly see huge volumes of activity on Twitter, and we expect to see that this Sunday as well,” Sacher said. “It provides an interesting way for users to visualize that activity, and look at the buzz around different artists, song titles and hashtags.”

VH1 is also trying to generate content that it hopes will go viral, providing a fun bonus to viewers, and something that might rive people to the show. At the heart of that plan is the “GIF Booth,” a photo booth that will automatically generate GIFs that will be posted to VH1’s Tumblr site. Celebrities will be encouraged to go into the booth and goof off (see an example of what to expect with rocker Adam Lambert to the right).

VH1 tested the booth out at the “Do Something” awards earlier this year, and it was a big hit.

“The talent has a good time, it makes a printout like an old fashioned photo booth which they take,” Mallow said. “I was actually amazed at how many of them actually took it.”

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. TLC doubled its Tumblr following during the Do Something awards thanks largely to the animated GIFs.