Spike's Video Game Awards Franchise Finds Audience On Web

Former Spike TV Live Event Draws 1.1 Million Online Streams

Spike TV’s successful move of its Video Game Awards telecast to the web from linear television earlier this month bodes well for the future of the franchise, according to network officials.

After airing the awards on the network over the past decade, Spike on Dec. 7 streamed the renamed VGX awards live event across several online sources such as VGXLIVE.com and Hulu, as well as Viacom Media Networks properties such as Spike.com, ComedyCentral.com, MTV.com, MTV2.com, BET.com and GameTrailers.com.  The event, which celebrates the top video games and game producers across several categories, was also streamed via Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation3 gaming devices, as well as iOS and Android devices.

The VGX event generated 1.1 million total live streams reaching over 109 countries worldwide, surpassing online streams for the Youtube Music Awards in November, according to Spike officials.

The network decided to move the event to the web after gamers said they wanted more airtime for gaming producers and game trailers.

“Gamers have told us that they want less of a Hollywood awards show that’s built for a different industry,” said Viacom Entertainment Group executive vice president of talent development and studio relations Casey Patterson. “What they wanted was more gaming content – world premieres and breaking news -- and less pomp and circumstance.”

The VGX showcased a number of world premiere gaming videos followed by interviews with gaming producers regarding their vision of the games. While ratings for the VGA’s had fluctuated in recent years, Patterson said ratings did not factor into the decision to move the awards show to the web.

“It was more due to the limitations of TV,” Patterson said. “We took it off of TV so that we could put it across anywhere on the Viacom [websites] where we had a gaming demo. By doing it this way we were no longer limited to any one linear brand, which felt organic for us.”

Spike executive in charge of publisher relations and VGX co-host Geoff Keighley (pictured, left) added that the simulcast of Spike’s 2012 telecast through Microsoft’s XBOX gaming console showed that gamers would click on to the awards show via the web.

“Last year we saw an amazing response so we decided to build on that and put it on other platforms such as PlayStation and other screens,” he said.

Patterson said she hopes to create a broader online footprint the VGX in 2014. “We continue to want to be in a conversation with gamers and bring them more content, and we’re committed to figuring out the best way to do that,” she said.