There was a tight performance from Video Vanguard Award winner Jennifer Lopez last night on the MTV Video Music Awards, but the show at Radio City Music Hall saw several stumbles too, and we don’t just mean in the ratings.
There were cringes galore Monday as the recently deceased Aretha Franklin received a very awkward tribute from Madonna, Aerosmith and Post Malone had a very ill-advised duet, and Tiffany Haddish and a Donald Trump-slagging Kevin Hart had an unexpected misstep in front of a crowd 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, last night’s Viacom shindig proved a big winner for Camila Cabello and Cardi B. But the 35th annual VMAs scored a 1.04 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.25 million viewers on MTV, with the last night’s 164-minute show falling 23% in the ratings and 15% in viewers from 2017’s VMA-low last August 27, when Katy Perry hosted.
The result saw it finish second on cable in the key demo Monday behind USA Network’s WWE programming.
Simulcast on MTV and 10 more Viacom-owned outlets, the 2018 VMAs drew an overall total audience of 5.2 million and an 18-49 rating of 2.34. That’s 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 outlets.
Overall, on both MTV alone and the Viacom empire team effort, this year marks the fifth straight decline for the once-dominant VMAs in both the 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 these VMAs in the traditional manner.
Still, 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.