Ratings: MTV VMAs Viewership Plunges

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The ratings for Thursday night’s Video Music Awards went the One Direction MTV definitely wasn’t hoping for: way down.

RELATED | MTV VMAs 2012: 3 Best and 3 Worst Moments

The telecast averaged 6.1 million viewers, a fall from the record 12.45 million that tuned into the 2011 show. It marked the smallest VMA audience in six years.

Two key factors likely contributed to the erosion: The unusual Thursday airdate and the early, 8 pm start time (to avoid competing with coverage of the Democratic National Convention).

Despite the dip, the VMAs still ranked as the night’s top telecast in the network’s targeted 12-34 demo.

Why do you think the ratings dropped so sharply? Hit the comments with your theories on the numbers and your suggestions for how MTV can regain its audience next year.



Comments (51)

  • Is it next week yet? All I want it Awkward back. Only two episodes left of the season until next year!!

    Comment by iMember – September 7, 2012 03:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • AMEN! I love Awkward!

      Comment by Xperto – September 7, 2012 04:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • mee too!

      Comment by waldorf – September 7, 2012 06:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THIS

      Comment by dessy111 – September 7, 2012 07:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • YES. So pissed the VMA were on thursday instead of Awkward.

      Comment by Russ – September 7, 2012 07:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Justin Bieber….HIS FAULT!

    Comment by adam – September 7, 2012 03:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I usually watch but I didn’t even know it was airing.

    Comment by guest – September 7, 2012 03:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • yeah i think they did a terrible job advertising. i didn’t know it was on either. normally i’d see a few promos on other channels (cause i dont really watch mtv otherwise…) and there was just no general hype surrounding it that came my way. and i like to think i pay attention enough.

      Comment by cjeffery7 – September 7, 2012 04:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I feel like the ratings sucked because the SHOW sucked. Most of the performances were completely snooze-worthy and the awards themselves were pretty predictable.

    Comment by Laura – September 7, 2012 03:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, I DVR’d it and ended up fast forwarding through most of the musical performances (except T Swift) and most of the speeches. It was just boring.

      Comment by Russ – September 7, 2012 07:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • If Taylor Swift was the only singer who wasn’t boring, it must have been a dreadful night.

        Comment by Michael – September 8, 2012 01:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • the show is just irrelevant that is the what the numbers show.

    Comment by scorpo – September 7, 2012 03:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The show has no charisma anymore. You see year to year all the same rappers/r&b singers. Where are the other preformers. There are plenty from other gernes. There are also to many preformers. We where I believe half an hour in the show and there was still no award. Where are the fun sketches. Why do a movie trailer promotion. This is music not twilight even in the movie awards its all twilight this and that. It has the same disease as the mvas. One concentraded gerne and nothing special. Where are the awards for Florence and the Machine, Adele, etc… Its like who is the most messed up lets invite those people and give them some awards. It is not that I do not like those singers or people but I want to see others also. After Enimen started to show up at those awards at MTV it all went downhill. From quality to controversy.

    Comment by Witchy – September 7, 2012 04:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • well considering MTV rarely actually PLAYS any music videos i feel that them hosting a music video awards show is pretty silly. They are not a music based network anymore so why would i watch them honor something that they consider beneath them now.

    Comment by AMES – September 7, 2012 04:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • MTV and VH1 have both tanked. The crap on VH1 is un-watchable and MTV should remove the M from their name.

      Comment by Templar – September 8, 2012 08:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The only reason it was so high last year was because of Adele.

    Comment by Kris CV (@snostandlost) – September 7, 2012 04:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • yeah, good point, but i dont think half the audience last year was there to see adele. granted, i dont know what the long term ratings have been, though i do suspect they are in general decline.

      Comment by cjeffery7 – September 7, 2012 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • VMA 2006: 5.76 million
      VMA 2007: 6.4 million
      VMA 2008: 8.4 million
      VMA 2009 with Gaga: 9.87 milion
      VMA 2010 with Gaga: 11.4 milion
      VMA 2011 with Gaga: 12.5 milion
      VMA 2012 without Gaga: 6.1 milion

      Comment by Blair – September 8, 2012 04:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • yes, you are right!!

        Comment by BrendonStander – October 28, 2012 10:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The ratings plunged because Gaga, Beyonce, and Britney weren’t there… That’s the reason. Everyone knows it.

    Comment by Cela – September 7, 2012 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think that’s kinda it right there! Who were the superstar PERFORMERS? No one that performed last night! I watched about 3 performances at the beginning and got the rest of the info off online stories and blogs.

      Comment by Michele – September 8, 2012 02:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Definitely! Britney not being there was the main reason I did not watch. By the way did they honor Whitney Houston in any way?

      Comment by Ryan – September 8, 2012 04:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • poor advertising.
    i had no idea it was even on until the next morning when my daily websites (like TVLine & Hypable) posted news about it. Also, i feel like the MTV Movie Awards have kind of overshadowed the VMAs, beginning with the Twilight hype however many years ago.

    Comment by cjeffery7 – September 7, 2012 05:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Its obvious!
    #1: Thursday instead of Saturday
    #2: 8:00PM instead of 9:00PM
    #3: Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and Adele weren’t there. Mainly Lady Gaga, because if you love her or hate her, you still wanna see her and what she does.

    Comment by Thomas Westerman – September 7, 2012 05:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The awards never aired on Saturdays. No award ceremony airs on Saturday. There’s no viewership on Saturdays because people don’t stay in on Saturday nights. MTV awards have always aired on Sundays; Mondays; or Tuesdays, usually the week that school starts back up, when young people are almost guaranteed to be home with their families.

      Comment by dejamarketingstats – September 30, 2012 03:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Suggestions for my benefit: Don’t invite Chris Brown. To anything. EVER.

    Real suggestions: Better, younger host. More performances. More advertising.

    Comment by Mikaylah Roggasch – September 7, 2012 05:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Don’t like the word “advertising”. They should have promoted it more. And I agree that it should have been on Sunday.

      Comment by Mikaylah Roggasch – September 7, 2012 05:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Only problem with that…MTV used the controversy surrounding him and Rihanna being in the same place at the same time *gasp* in one attempt to boost viewership. Wasn’t he part of the VMAs, as a performer, during last years much higher viewed show (he wasn’t the reason people watched but I don’t think he was a reason people didn’t watch)? As long as people tune in, even in disgust, they still win.

      They don’t need more performances, IMO, they need BETTER performers.

      Comment by Michele – September 8, 2012 02:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 1. Host was some random person most people dont know who the hell he was
    2. Winners have been so predictable for this and the movie awards that no one with half a brain needed to watch to see who won
    3. They dont play music videos anymore so how can they make an awards show for them?!?!

    Comment by Lynne – September 7, 2012 05:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Gaga wasent there so i didnt even bother watching and i want awkard back!!!!!!!!!! And who needs mtv when theres youtube?

    Comment by Nathan – September 7, 2012 06:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The only reason it was high last year was because of Beyonce and her baby announcement.. The evidence was the twitter record and Google record and other things.. The world tuned in just to see Beyonce. Gaga and Britney also contributed. This is a fact everybody knows but don’t wanna admit.

    Comment by Gerald – September 7, 2012 06:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No one knew she was going to announce that so I don’t believe that caused higher ratings last year…would have required mind reading.

      Comment by Just sayin – September 9, 2012 07:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i have to admit that i did watched it last year because of Lady Gaga. i really didn’t enjoy the show this year because of many reasons. but as i sad i really loved pink’s performance.

    Comment by waldorf – September 7, 2012 07:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The show was simulcast on VH1, MTV2 and Logo. Those numbers weren’t included. VH1 had 1.29 million watching the show. So while it wasn’t over 12 million its still higher than it is being reported.

    Comment by Scott – September 7, 2012 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • needs lady gaga

    Comment by Sophia Heath – September 7, 2012 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why host a show when all of shows they air now are scripted now-a-days. Kids don’t even know what MTV stands for anymore. Its silly. For that fact I don’t get why music artists make music videos anymore either. You either have to look at the artists webpage to find the video or scroll through youtube to find them.

    Comment by Rachel – September 7, 2012 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The biggest reason, in my opinion, is that the show just sucked big time. But it was also in a bad time slot with not a ton of advertising. Most people I asked didn’t even know it was on. And when the commercials I did see were only advertising Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift, it wasn’t a lot to draw people in.

    Comment by brandon – September 7, 2012 09:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No Gaga, Adele, Beyonce, Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, or any band besides Green Day…It was a little strange. They could’ve had people that were big in 2012 like Carly Rae, Gotye, Fun, etc.

    Comment by brandon – September 7, 2012 09:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well all I heard mostly about the VMA’s this year was that a euro boy band was gonna be the big performance and I am a male so I chose not to watch. VMA’s really havent been good for like 10 years

    Comment by Ryan – September 7, 2012 09:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I had no idea it was on. I don’t usually watch the whole thing, but I would have checked in on it now and then.

    Comment by TrulyRoxie – September 8, 2012 08:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • easy to know why the ratings plunged if they had aired it on Sunday or Sat would have been better middle of week not good for thier target audience

    Comment by Joshua – September 8, 2012 09:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish they would have aired AWKWARD after the VMAs.

    Comment by Jared – September 8, 2012 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • my sister remembered to dvr it b/c i didnt even realize that it was on. it was so good that we watched the whole thing in 17 minutes – and that was with her rewinding it to watch the clip for the twilight movie again.

    Comment by Stephanie – September 8, 2012 10:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • First off, r video music videos still around….wouldnt know since mtv no longer stands for music tv!! Plus the vmas aren’t like what they used to be.

    Comment by amy – September 8, 2012 10:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I heard it advertised. The list of artists to appear was the same-old-same-old. For most, I could not even think of what recent hits they had. Certainly nothing very memorable. Isn’t Gotye’s video from this year?

    Comment by teatime – September 9, 2012 07:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bieber was def one of the reasons !

    Comment by be – September 9, 2012 09:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not sure about anywhere else but here in NYC, many young people, who are potential viewers, were out for Fashion’s Night Out. This may also account for the lack of celebrities at the VMA. This is a global event and many celebrities were making appearances everywhere.

    I attended a few FNO events, and got home to catch the DNC. I DVR the VMAs and pretty much fast-forwarded most of the show. The content was not solid, from the mediocre performances of the opening (RiRi) to the last (T-Swift). They didn’t even mention Whitney Houston.

    Comment by P. – September 9, 2012 12:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was poorly promoted and the little promotions they had were stupid. Also the MAIN reason is they had it on a Thursday, the same day as DNC. Should had it on a Sunday when peoples schedule was cleared. Plus not too many big name celebritys. They shouldn’t have announce Kanye was gonna be a no show a hour before the awards, Kanye hasn’t miss the VMAs in 5 yrs. No Lady Gaga with her crazy outfits, usually her outfit are trendy on twitter just from red carpet which draws in viewers. No Justin Bieber with his crazy fan would brought in lots of viewers. Last why have 2 Chainz perform when you have Drake in attendence who led all artist along with Rihanna with most nominations.

    Comment by Hip-Hop Fiend – September 10, 2012 07:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One reason, 2 words: No Gaga…… The little monsters said this would be the least viewed VMAs due to MTV shutting out Lady Gaga…. They were right.

    Comment by Kilo – September 13, 2012 07:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Enough with Whitney already! Wasn’t there a big enough deal made about that crackhead hasbeen? Where were all her “fans” when her last album flopped and everyone was bagging on her?
    That’s what I thought.

    Comment by Randy – September 13, 2012 07:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So the MTV Awards are back on a Sunday night (8/25), in Brooklyn at the Barclay’s Center. They’ve tapped into Brooklyn artist KAWS to create a limited edition Moonman and bring back the hip factor in the imaging of the show which has already created a buzz. The first awards show of it’s size ever to be held in Brooklyn is also creating a buzz. It’s the 30 year anniversary of MTV. Predictions on how this show will deliver vs 2012? What needs to be done to make it a home run?

    Comment by Mike – July 11, 2013 12:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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