MTV bringing 2012 elections to young viewer base


Basic cable channel MTV will be doing a number of things to provide news of the 2012 elections, and will take it a step further by encouraging participation in the elections by its viewers. It’s packaged as “The Power of 12,” and among the plans is a documentary series providing portraits of select candidates describing what they were up to back when they were 22 years old.

Another feature is “Our Voice,” another documentary series that will try to bring the concerns of MTV’s audience to various candidates. And there is also a fantasy style game mimicking those played by millions that are tied to MLB, NFL and other sports, that allows participants to pick a slate of candidates for the presidency and both houses of the US Congress, picking up points for some events and losing points for others.

MTV notes that only 13% of 18-29 have already given a great deal of thought to the 2012 elections at this point in the process, down from 28% at this point in the 2008 race. It aims to help bring that number up. The total number of votes at stake in the 18-29 demographic is said to be 45M.

“Through their sheer size, Millennials have the power to be a deciding factor in the 2012 elections and help set the country’s direction,” said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. “Our goal for the ‘Power of 12’ is to encourage candidates to tap into the power of the largest generation in history and respond to their concerns.”

MTV will be doing things to encourage and aid in registering to vote. It is even part of the fantasy game, which “…will reward candidates for exhibiting the behaviors voters deserve, and penalize politicians for behaviors that hurt our democracy.” (The devil will certainly be in the details in the criteria for that set of game rule criteria!) Participants in the game can earn points independent of their slate of candidates by registering to vote, by watching or attending debates and town hall events, and even by simply discussing the election with friends.

MTV News will be producing the two sets of documentaries, and will be the website that brings it all together.