Shortage of true music talent explains why VMAs ratings hit an all-time low


There was a tight performance from Video Vanguard Award winner Jennifer Lopez last on the MTV Video Music Awards but the Radio City Music Hall hosted show saw a number of stumbles too, and we don’t just mean in the ratings.

There were cringes galore on Monday as the recently deceased Aretha Franklin receive a very awkward tribute from Madonna, Aerosmith and Post Malone have a very ill-advised duet and Tiffany Haddish and a Donald Trump slagging Kevin Hart have a very unexpected misstep in front of a crowd that they should have held in the palm of their hands.

Not facing a Game Of Thrones season finale on a Sunday like last year’s struggling VMAS, the Monday held Viacom shindig was a big winner for two-time Moonman victor Camila Cabello and Cardi B as Best New Artist.

However, for the NYC-set show itself a move to Mondays did not provide a much-desired ratings U-turn, at all.

The 35th annual VMAs had a 1.04 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.25 million viewers on MTV itself, according to Nielsen. Coming in second on cable in the key demo behind USA Network’s WWE Entertainment, last night’s 164-minute show fell 23% in the ratings and 15% in viewers from the VMAs low of last year’s August 27 Katy Perry hosted ceremony.

Simulcast on MTV plus 10 more Viacom-owned outlet, the 2018 VMAs drew a total audience of 5.2 million and an 18-49 rating of 2.34. That a stumble of 8% in viewers and 10% in the demo – also a new low. The 2017 VMAs was shown on MTV plus
six other Viacom own outlets.

Overall, on both MTV alone and the Viacom empire team effort, this year is also the fifth straight decline for the once dominate VMAs in both the 18-49 demo and total sets of eyeballs. In contrast, the move to a Monday perch saw this year’s pre-taped and 10-channel simulcasted MTV Movie & TV Awards rise 21% in both the key demo and viewership over 2017.

Clearly, not everyone wants their MTV anymore – at least those VMAs in the traditional manner.

Yet, on the digital landscape, last night’s awards snagged 141.6 million streams, which makes it the most streamed awards show ever for Viacom according to MTV. Perhaps significantly for the youth leaning cabler, social media engagement for the strongly trending 2018 Music Video Awards rose 46% from 2017, again according to stats from MTV via measurement firm Delmondo.


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