Ratings: MTV VMAs Viewership Plunges

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 are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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51 Comments
  1. iMember says:

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

  2. adam says:

    Justin Bieber….HIS FAULT!

  3. guest says:

    I usually watch but I didn’t even know it was airing.

    • cjeffery7 says:

      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.

  4. Laura says:

    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.

    • Russ says:

      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.

  5. scorpo says:

    the show is just irrelevant that is the what the numbers show.

  6. Witchy says:

    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.

  7. AMES says:

    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.

  8. The only reason it was so high last year was because of Adele.

  9. Cela says:

    The ratings plunged because Gaga, Beyonce, and Britney weren’t there… That’s the reason. Everyone knows it.

    • Michele says:

      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.

    • Ryan says:

      Definitely! Britney not being there was the main reason I did not watch. By the way did they honor Whitney Houston in any way?

  10. cjeffery7 says:

    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.

  11. Thomas Westerman says:

    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.

    • dejamarketingstats says:

      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.

  12. Suggestions for my benefit: Don’t invite Chris Brown. To anything. EVER.

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

    • Don’t like the word “advertising”. They should have promoted it more. And I agree that it should have been on Sunday.

    • Michele says:

      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.

  13. Lynne says:

    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?!?!

  14. Nathan says:

    Gaga wasent there so i didnt even bother watching and i want awkard back!!!!!!!!!! And who needs mtv when theres youtube?

  15. Gerald says:

    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.

    • Just sayin says:

      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.

  16. waldorf says:

    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.

  17. Scott says:

    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.

  18. Rachel says:

    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.

  19. brandon says:

    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.

  20. brandon says:

    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.

  21. Ryan says:

    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

  22. TrulyRoxie says:

    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.

  23. Joshua says:

    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

  24. Jared says:

    I wish they would have aired AWKWARD after the VMAs.

  25. Stephanie says:

    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.

  26. amy says:

    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.

  27. teatime says:

    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?

  28. be says:

    Bieber was def one of the reasons !

  29. P. says:

    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.

  30. Hip-Hop Fiend says:

    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.

  31. Kilo says:

    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.

  32. Randy says:

    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.

  33. Mike says:

    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?

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