Virtual MTV turns to Oddcast for Web-based interactivity

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MTV has partnered with Oddcast to use the latter's Voki platform of speaking avatars on its Virtual MTV site.

The interactive avatar environments, called Playgrounds, allow users to record their views on the network's The Hills, Pimp My Ride or The Real World to personalized avatars that speak when clicked on. It is an extension of the network's Virtual MTV (VMTV) platform, where users register to interact with MTV properties online. The avatars are accessible from the Virtual MTV homepage, at http://content.vmtv.com/voki/.

Shaival Shah, VP, business development strategy and GM, consumer for Oddcast, said that the Web-based avatars are designed to help increase audience engagement with the brand, its shows and its virtual component, without requiring an application download or any registration.

“Viacom [MTV's parent company] wanted to create a lighter way to drive more awareness of its cable properties and of the virtual identity,” Shah said. “It also wanted to introduce this functionality into the VMTV world — there's not a lot of voice elements.”

Shah added that MTV wanted “to encourage people to start a two-way conversation” and appreciated the flexibility of the platform.

“It can be a topical conversation that the editors put up there, based on what's occurring in the show today,” Shah said.

For example, the Virtual Hills Voki portal asks the question, “Is Brody a player, or do you think he has genuine feelings for Lauren?”

Representatives from MTV could not be reached in time for comment, and Shah said that he could not discuss any potential advertising or marketing plans MTV has for the Voki avatars. However, published reports have said that clickable ads on other Voki platforms have click-through rates averaging about 5%-10%.

In February, DMNews reported that 75% of Voki avatar users on a South Carolina radio station's Web site signed up for an available sweepstakes that was part of the campaign.

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