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The Video Music Awards fell in the ratings again — but not as steeply as they had in the past couple of years or in comparison to some other recent awards shows.
Monday’s kudocast on MTV drew 1.93 million viewers and a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49. That’s an all-time low for the flagship channel, down from the previous low — set last year — of 2.25 million viewers and a 1.1 in the demo. The VMAs have hit all-time ratings lows in each of the past three years.
The MTV telecast was off by 14 percent in viewers and 18 percent in adults 18-49, somewhat smaller declines than either of the past two years — when the total audience fell by 18 percent and 18-49 ratings by more than 20 percent each time.
The awards were also simulcast on 11 other Viacom channels (VH1, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Network, CMT, MTV2, TV Land, MTV Classic, Logo and BETHer). The 12-network telecast recorded a 6 percent drop among adults 18-49, which is a better showing than the MTV Movie and TV Awards, Teen Choice Awards, Tony Awards and Billboard Music Awards, all of which fell by double digits.
Complete viewership numbers for all 12 channels tallies 4.9 million, also down about 6 percent from last year’s 5.2 million viewers (on 10 channels).
The awards ceremony also recorded big gains in social and online video views, which were up 85 percent year to year and a key point of emphasis in reaching the network’s core young-adult audience. Social engagement around the VMAs also more than doubled year to year in the month leading up to the awards, per figures from Conviva Social Insights.
MTV also noted that ratings among the older demo of adults 25-54 were up 6 percent, possibly owing to 46-year-old comedian Sebastian Maniscalco serving as host and the prominent presence of veteran music stars like Missy Elliott (who received the Video Vanguard Award), Queen Latifah and Naughty by Nature.
Taylor Swift won video of the year honors for “You Need to Calm Down,” while Ariana Grande was named artist of the year and Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus won the song of the year award for the ubiquitous “Old Town Road (Remix).” Billie Eilish was tapped as best new artist.
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