Ratings: 2017 MTV Video Music Awards Show Falls From 2016 Edition (Updated)

This year’s edition of the VMAs, which faced “Game Of Thrones,” suffered a year-over-year viewership decline.

Katy Perry at the VMAs | John Shearer/Getty for MTV

Update: The slide continued for the MTV Video Music Awards.

The 2017 VMAs ceremony trailed the 2016 edition in adults 18-49 and overall viewership.

According to live+same-day data posted by Showbuzz, Sunday’s ceremony drew a 2.70 adults 18-49 rating and 5.68 million overall viewers across the numerous simulcasts.

Last year’s event posted a 3.24 rating and reached 6.53 million overall viewers**.

The 2016 edition drew markedly fewer viewers than the 2015 show, which attracted an overall audience of nearly 10 million.

It is worth noting that the 9-10:20PM portion of this year’s show aired opposite the massively rated “Game Of Thrones” season finale. Last year’s show faced no such competition.

It did, however, in a later 9PM-12AM timeslot. Awards shows often endure sharp viewership declines in the 11PM hour, so it was at a notable disadvantage.

**Last year’s show featured an additional simulcast from Centric. It drew a low 0.05 rating and 105,000 viewers, so it does not markedly affect the year-over-year comparison.

MTV’s annual Video Music Awards ceremony once again suffered a year-over-year ratings decline.

According to live+same-day data posted by Showbuzz, the MTV edition of Sunday’s broadcast drew a 1.36 adults 18-49 rating and averaged 2.66 million overall viewers.

The numbers trail the 1.78 rating and 3.27 million viewer mark drawn by last year’s show. Those numbers were down sharply from those of the 2015 edition, which were down from those of the 2014 show.

Like last year’s show, the 2017 VMAs ceremony aired concurrently across multiple Viacom networks. Several of the simulcasts were also down year-over-year.

This year’s VH1 edition drew a 0.36 adults 18-49 rating and 0.71 million viewers (versus a 0.41 and 0.89 million last year). The comedy Central broadcast posted a 0.18 rating and 0.42 in viewership (versus a 0.24 and 0.48 million last year), while the Spike airing scored a 0.18 rating and 0.43 million (versus a 0.20 and 0.44 million last year).

Simulcasts on BET, TV Land and MTV 2 posted year-over-year gains in at least one of the two columns, but they do not compensate for the aforementioned losses.

BET drew a 0.20 and 0.47 million (versus a 0.19 and 0.49 million last year). TV Land scored a 0.14 and 0.39 million (versus a 0.11 and 0.31 million last year), and MTV 2 posted a 0.13 and 0.29 million (versus a 0.11 and 0.20 million last year).

Ratings for additional simulcasts were not available at press time, but they are smaller than those for the aforementioned broadcasts. They will not, therefore, markedly affect the year-over-year comparison.

It is, of course, worth noting that the 9-10:20PM portion of this year’s show faced mammoth competition from the “Game Of Thrones” season finale. Last year’s show faced nothing of the sort.

On the one hand, that reality makes the year-over-year decline somewhat easy to swallow.

On the other hand, it is important to note that last year’s numbers were considered weak. It is hard, therefore, to embrace a decline — no matter how justifiable in context.

Also worth noting: this year’s show aired from 8-11:06PM, while last year’s show ran from 9-11:55PM. Awards show viewership often falls in the 11PM hour, which would have put last year’s broadcast at a disadvantage.

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]


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