Viacom, owner of such networks as MTV and Comedy Central, said Tuesday that brands like Degree Women and Pepsi have snapped up sponsorship slots for Twitter social-video-advertising campaigns linked to the "MTV Video Music Awards" later this month, with all the slots claimed within a week.
Now, Viacom and Twitter are creating new sponsorship slots for the "Comedy Central Roast of James Franco" and more than 30 other programming events and shows through the end of next year.
During Twitter's meteoric rise, a common complaint about the microblogging site was its dearth of revenue opportunities, especially in light of the hundreds of millions of dollars investors poured into the service. But in recent years, it has been bolstering its advertising business to become a legitimate marketing platform for a wide variety of companies.
Twitter this year opened up TV ad-targeting technology to U.S. marketers wanting to reach live-TV viewers with synchronized in-tweet promos. The initiative, called "Twitter Amplify," has been up and running in some form since early May, when early partners included Viacom and well as Conde Nast, MLB.com, BBC America, FOX, ESPN, and The Weather Channel.
Jeff Lucas, head of sales, music and entertainment at Viacom Media Networks, said in a statement that Twitter Amplify for the "MTV Video Music Awards" generated "such a great response from advertisers" that Viacom is accelerating plans to roll it out across its networks.
For the VMAs, MTV will push tweets with sponsored-supported video content -- that is, clips preceded by ads -- leading up to and during the show, like backstage clips and red carpet interviews. It will also tweet custom content developed for sponsors related to VMA award categories and MTV News coverage of the event. So: more ads.
With Amplify, Twitter pushes advertisers' extra video clips as promoted tweets to users who have likely seen the advertiser's broadcast spot while watching a live television program. The process of identifying actual ad viewers is handled by Bluefin Labs, the television analytics service that Twitter acquired earlier this year.
The VMAs are highly tweeted events. Last year, the awards program generated 14.7 tweets, putting it in the same category as the Olympics, the presidential election and the Super Bowl in terms of Twitter traction. Viacom also said that September's "Comedy Central Roast of James Franco" is seeing activity on Twitter.
We'll see if lampooning James Franco on Twitter is as popular as deriding Kanye West.