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Scotland’s MTV payback 2004-11-06

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Europe, Humanities, Money, Scotland.

Billed as the biggest musical and showbiz extravaganza ever to hit Scotland’s shores, ‘The MTV Europe Awards’ transformed Edinburgh, for a single night in 2003-11, into one of the most glamorous cities in the world.

But even as stars such as Mr.Justin Timberlake and Ms.Christina Aguilera screamed in typical rock ‘n’ roll fashion: ‘We love you, Edinburgh’ to a worldwide TV audience of more than 100 million, the show’s opponents were asking whether it was right to spend 750 000 GBP of public money bringing a pop concert to Scotland.

As the celebrity-studded bandwagon decamps to Rome for this year’s ceremony on 2004-11-18, with ‘Eminem’ taking to the stage with the ‘Beastie Boys’, ‘Usher’, ‘Franz Ferdinand’, ‘Nelly’, ‘The Hives’, ‘Maroon 5’ and Ms.Gwen Stefani, many do believe there has been a lasting economic impact for Edinburgh and Scotland.

‘MTV’s’ legacy will be in attracting a younger tourist to Scotland for many years to come, experts believe:

  • New research shows that in 2003 almost half of the 4.1 million visitors to Scotland’s cities were aged between 16 and 34 with high-to-medium disposable incomes.

‘MTV was really important in changing people’s perception of Scotland and introducing us to a younger market. On the back of this, we are marketing various action sports through our various websites.

‘Through ‘MTV’ we have been able to say Scotland is a funky place and can be great fun’, said Chief Executive of ‘VisitScotland’ Mr.Philip Riddle.

Professor Mr.John Lennon, of ‘Glasgow Caledonian University’, Scotland’s foremost tourism expert, said the ‘MTV’ awards were a

‘Triumph in giving Edinburgh a global reach to the 16 to 25 year-olds that is virtually impossible using traditional media’.

Shortly after the hotel suites were cleaned up and the American pop princesses Christina Aguilera, ‘Pink’ and Ms.Beyoncé Knowles finished their shopping sprees in ‘Harvey Nichols’, economic analysis commissioned by city leaders claimed that hosting ‘The MTV Europe Music Awards’ generated nearly 9 million GBP for the Scottish economy — more than double the original forecast.

The figures were contained in a study which was carried out by independent consultants ‘SQW’ for ‘Scottish Enterprise’, ‘Edinburgh City’ and ‘EventScotland’.

Mr.Bruce Macdonald, of ‘SQW’, said that in addition to the extra income generated at the time of the event, worldwide TV coverage was worth an estimated 8.6 million GBP in advertising. Global print coverage, with 928 newspapers writing about the event, led to a readership of more than 500 million, worth about 4.8 millionGBP.

Others, however, are less certain. One of Edinburgh’s leading events organisers said:

‘I don’t think that it has had any huge effect.

‘Personally I think that the money would have been better spent on regenerating the established events like the Festival and Film Festival’, he said.

Edinburgh Film Festival should now attract the attention of Cannes and Venice – there needs to be more enticement to attract the big stars and films’.

The economic legacy may be doubted by some, but, says Mr.Riddle, when ‘VisitScotland’ is conducting market research, ‘MTV’ is used to showcase Scotland as a holiday destination.

It plays a very major part in marketing city breaks, which account for around 34 per cent of all holidays in Scotland, he added.

A new website, MyVisitScotland.com is already in place to capitalise on the massive interest in Edinburgh following the awards and aims to lure young ‘urban adventurers’ to Edinburgh and Scotland’s five other cities.

Launched earlier this year, the site is designed to showcase hip highlights for younger visitors in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen, and is part of an initiative by ‘VisitScotland’ lasting up to five years.

‘Recently, we have been focusing market research activity in south-east England’, said The Chief Executive of ‘VisitScotland’.

‘We show clips of MTV, windsurfing, paragliding and the common response is ‘That’s not Scotland, is

‘There is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that it has helped to broaden the horizons’.

Chief Executive of ‘EventScotland’ Mr.David Williams agrees:

[Picture of Event Scotland’s David Williams]
‘During the last 12 months, ‘EventScotland’ has used the ‘MTV’ experience while bidding and securing a host of events, including the ‘2007 World Badminton Championships’ and the ‘2007 World Mountain Bike Championships’ for Scotland.

‘The success of the ‘The MTV Europe Music Awards’ is an excellent example of the power of working in partnerships and is a clear demonstration of how major events can generate significant economic benefit for Scotland’.

He went on:

‘We will continue to use the success of the ‘The MTV Europe Music Awards’ to highlight Scotland’s capability of hosting world-class events and position the country as a leading events destination on the world stage’.

The world stage has embraced Edinburgh, long after Justin Timberlake and ‘The Black Eyed Peas’ stopped dancing in local bars into the early hours of the morning. It’s not just Edinburgh bars and nightclubs that are still to this day advertising Justin or ‘Pink’ was here.

‘Billboard’, the prestigious US American music magazine, said the city would remain a beneficiary of worldwide attention, saying:

‘The “MTV awards” demonstrated how the event can be used to showcase a city, or indeed a country, to the world’.

In France, ‘Tele 7 Jours’, the country’s largest-selling TV guide and magazine, called Edinburgh the ‘flamboyant capital of Scotland’.

In Poland, the ‘Metro’ newspaper highlighted the fact that ‘many Scottish accents gave splendour to the ceremony’, despite the controversy of only one Scottish act, ‘Travis’, being allowed to sing at the predominantly USA-led show while home-grown singers Ms.Shirley Manson and Ms.Sharleen Spiteri were relegated to reading out nominations and awards.

In total, the Edinburgh ‘MTV awards’ received 77 hours of coverage on the ‘MTV’ channel and were watched by 14 million people in Europe.

In Spain, 45 per cent more viewers watched the Edinburgh ceremony than in 2002, when the awards were held in Barcelona.

‘Edinburgh was such a great location for us. We managed to include the city and some Scottishness into the show’, said The Executive Producer of MTV Europe Mr.Richard Godfrey. ‘

‘We were delighted the partnership has resulted in so many positives, and we’ll tell anybody who asks how easy it was to work here and what a pleasure it was to host the event here’.

The Leader of ‘Edinburgh City Council’ Mr.Donald Anderson, said hosting ‘The MTV awards’ has helped the city to consolidate its place as Britain’s favourite city.

[Picture of Donald Anderson Edinburgh Council Leader]
‘It has greatly enhanced our profile as an events destination and has helped attract year-round tourism’, he said.

‘Even though the number of hotel beds in the city has risen by 20 per cent, we have still managed to increase occupancy levels by 1 per cent over the last year’, he said.

‘Events such as “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay” add to the appeal, and this year our New Year celebrations are firmly on the right track’.

The Council Leader says the long-term benefits of the event will be apparent in years to come when young ‘MTV’ viewers, maybe not old enough to travel independently, start embarking on holidays without parents.

The show, beamed worldwide, brought Edinburgh into the living-rooms of a young generation, untapped by holiday firms selling city breaks. The Council Leader added:

‘”MTV” gave Edinburgh an unforgettable experience that has left a lasting legacy for the city’.



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