Did viral stunt contribute to MMVA audiences?

The 2008 MuchMusic Video Awards recorded significant audience increases over last year's show, on more than one platform. Part of the promo leading up to the awards was a staged 'hacking' of the airwaves by Phreak615.

In the months leading up to the MuchMusic Video Awards, the net created a character named Phreak615, who appeared as an underground pop-culture activist ‘hacking’ onto prime time Much. The stunt caught the attention of thousands of YouTube video-snackers and some coverage in the mainstream media.

Phreak615 (615 being the date of the awards, June 15) encouraged fans to create their own videos and post them online, so he could take clips and put them on Much airwaves, including the live MMVA broadcast. Loads of videos popped up online. Phreak’s blog (phreak615.blogspot.com) raked in more than 20,000 visits. Thousands viewed his videos online. And now a quick Google search reveals almost 5,000 results about Phreak615.

Did the buzz-building initiative pay off for MuchMusic? Well, the numbers are up for the awards – both on-air and online.

Online activity at muchmusic.com saw a 46% increase: 150,000 unique visitors, over one million page views and more than 500,000 video streams of MMVA content. The MMVAs was the #1 show in its timeslot for P12-34 across all Canadian television with a 271,000 AMA. The 271,000 P12-34 AMA represents 73% of Much’s P2+ AMA for the timeslot. The net reports that on-air AMAs were 43% higher than last year’s awards in its P12-34 demo during the 9 pm ET broadcast. The MMVAs Red Carpet Special at 8 pm ET reeled in 45% more P12-34s than last year’s.

Encore presentations of the 2008 MMVAs are online at MuchAXS, available as a full-length broadcast or selected performances. MuchMusic will rebroadcast the show throughout the week, while encore presentations will air on CTV (Saturday, June 28 at 12 midnight ET), A (Sunday, July 6 at 8 pm ET/PT), ASN (Sunday, July 6 at 9 pm AT) and MusiquePlus (in July).