Hybrid Future: Agora + TVU Networks powers virtual GRAMMY Awards first ceremony and Critics Choice Awards
Real Time Engagement (RTE) has once again proven itself as a powerful way to connect people around the world. This time we teamed up with TVU networks, a market and technology leader in cloud-based and IP-based live video solutions, to help trace the virtual red carpet for two of the most prestigious awards shows of the 2021 season – the inaugural ceremony of the GRAMMY Awards and the Critics Choice Awards.
During the 2020 and 2021 awards seasons, Hollywood has faced the new challenge of traditionally hosting in-person events online. The question: to host or not to host? The verdict: the show must go on. With much of the glitz and glamor of the awards day dependent on elaborate musical performances, stylish outfits, and champagne toast, producers had to figure out how to make a virtual awards show just as exciting. Let’s say the road was anything but smooth.
Bring the party to virtual awards shows
With a lot of bad press surrounding the rewards run through Zoom, the challenge of going virtual was – and remains – a tall order. The 2021 Golden Globes were filled with audio malfunctions, difficult transitions, and a few nearly missed speeches due to delays. Shortly after the awards show aired, Variety published an article covering all the misadventures, titled, “As if the rewards couldn’t be more embarrassing, step into the Golden Globes Zoom.” Likewise, Vogue wrote an article lambasting the 2020 Emmy Awards as “ our worst nightmare: a giant zoom call. ” With such a harsh reception, it’s not hard to see why many producers have toyed with the idea of not hosting their events.
TVU Networks saw these snafus as an opportunity to offer a tailor-made solution for price reductions. After all, if these events are meant to be entertaining, why have we ever relied on a solution for business meetings? It just doesn’t make sense. By integrating Agora’s voice, video and live streaming technology into its TVU Partyline functionality, a cloud-based broadcast-quality video conferencing platform, TVU Networks was able to combine its expertise in distribution to the powers of RTE. The final result? Two awards that deserve to be disguised and which marked a new era of hybrid and entirely virtual events.
2021 was the most widely broadcast GRAMMY Awards premiere ever
TVU Networks put on an impressive presentation at this year’s GRAMMY Awards premiere ceremony. The ceremony included more than 70 awards ceremonies, as well as several musical performances. The back and front of the ceremony were powered by TVU Partyline, which connected remote attendees, team, hosts and producers from around the world in a seamless cloud platform. For the organizers, this meant being able to meet the candidates before their speeches to make sure they felt prepared and comfortable. It also allowed them to meet other producers in real time to keep the show running smoothly. For the nominees, this meant easy, live access to the webcast to accept their award or “wow” the crowd with their performance on the virtual stage.
What is better? The ceremony posted the highest streaming rates of all time.with 83% more live broadcasts compared to 2020. Simultaneously, the show also saw more attendees than ever before. Historically, around 15-20% of nominees cannot attend the ceremony in person due to scheduling and travel issues. However, by organizing a hybrid event, TVU Networks was able to increase the participation of candidates.
RTE made the virtual Critics Choice Awards fun
Similar to the GRAMMY Awards premiere, the 2021 Critics Choice Awards challenged our idea of what it means to host a virtual event. TVU Networks used Agora’s RTE technology to enhance the broadcast experience by routing individual Partyline live streams from actors to virtual tables. It created an atmosphere of camaraderie, sitting entire casts “together” exactly as they would have been if the event had taken place in person. Unlike just listening to a one-dimensional video conference, the actors, actresses and crew experienced a sense of closeness.
For viewers, this created a much more entertaining show and resulted in a 75% retention rate for watching the entire show from start to finish. What does this prove? Leveraging RTE to make viewers and participants feel more connected is the key to organizing a successful virtual event. The Critics Choice Awards were a perfect case study of what can happen when producers go beyond video conferencing and create a virtual environment that captivates, entertains, and keeps audiences on the edge of their seats (or couches).
The future is hybrid
With vaccines rolling out and restless people at home, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recognize the urgency to start hosting in-person rewards again. Despite the fact that Hollywood bites down to roll out the physical red carpet, producers have seen the vast benefits of incorporating a virtual component into their ceremonies. As long as there are “podium acceptances” and scheduling conflicts, an option to connect or attend remotely will continue to be essential for viewers and nominees.
As we look to a brighter future when social distancing becomes a distant memory, Agora is excited to see how pioneers like TVU Networks will continue to leverage the power of RTE to increase accessibility, participation and number of people. viewers through exciting hybrid shows. After two seasons of rewards of experimentation, success and failure, we remain convinced that we will emerge from the pandemic without wanting to return to “normal”. Instead, we’ll emerge into an entirely new reality where distance never stops us from coming together and the live broadcast makes every seat feel like it’s front row.
Agora Inc. published this content on May 13, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unchanged, on May 13, 2021 05:13:04 PM UTC.