MTV’s Video Music Awards on Monday came in flat with the all-time-low 2018 edition in terms of total viewers, according to Nielsen, but digital and social viewing showed marked improvement over last year.
Moving from Radio City Music Hall in New York to Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center, last night’s show featured standout performances by Taylor Swift, Missy Elliott, Lizzo and others, and minimal controversy.
Airing three consecutive times Monday across 12 Viacom networks (two more than last year’s ceremony), the 36th annual edition of the original MTV creation drew 2.7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals. In the 25-54 demo, viewing ticked up 6%.
Viacom insiders attributed the growth to older-skewing elements in the show like host Sebastian Maniscalco, Vanguard Award honoree Missy Elliott, and a show-ending salute to New Jersey by Queen Latifah, Naughty By Nature and Wyclef.
In the adults 18-49 demo, viewing dipped 6%, reflecting the ongoing battle of traditional cable programmers to lure younger viewers. The drop also was a bit better than that experienced by awards shows like the Billboard Music Awards or the ACAs.
The Jersey outing registered a 129% increase in social engagement heading into the show, according to Conviva Social Insights and data from Facebook and YouTube. During the three-hour show, social and online video views rose 85% to 269 million, the most of any Viacom awards show.