MTV's VMAs get less than 900,000 viewers as ratings plummet 31% from last year

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MTV's VMAs get less than 900,000 viewers as ratings plummet 31% from last year

MTV's VMAs get less than 900,000 viewers as ratings plummet 31% from last year - the eighth straight year of declining viewersMTV saw

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MTV’s VMAs get less than 900,000 viewers as ratings plummet 31% from last year – the eighth straight year of declining viewers

  • MTV saw a 31 per cent plummet in viewership from last year’s award show with only 900,000 viewers tuning into the network
  • The VMAs have seen declining numbers since 2011, which peaked at 12.4million viewers
  • Other award shows have seen declining ratings in recent years
  • But social media interactions are high, with the 2021 VMAs pulling in more social media reaction than the Super Bowl for the first time  


Only 900,000 viewers tuned in live to watch the Video Music Awards on MTV this year – down 31 percent on last year’s 1.3million viewers. 

The VMAs aired on Sunday with performances with Madonna, the show’s eccentric opener, best new artist winner Olivia Rodrigo, video of the year winner Lil Nas X, and best alternative winner Machine Gun Kelly, among others.  

It is the eighth year in a row that viewership has declined, and comes a decade after the awards bash pulled in a record 12.45million viewers in 2011.

In 2019, the show pulled 1.93million viewers, 2018 channeled 2.25million, and 2017 pulled 2.9million into the network. 

MTV hit peak viewership in 2011 with 12.4million viewers on the network. The 2021 show only saw 900,000 live viewers

MTV hit peak viewership in 2011 with 12.4million viewers on the network. The 2021 show only saw 900,000 live viewers 

Show opener Madonna gave an eccentric performance at the 2021 VMAs

Other performers of the night included Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, and Machine Gun Kelly

Show opener Madonna gave an eccentric performance at the 2021 VMAs. Other performers of the night included Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, and Machine Gun Kelly 

The 2021 show also lost a key viewership category of 18 to 49-year-olds, which plummeted 17 per cent this year.  

However, the 2021 VMAs drew in more reactions on social media than the Super Bowl for the first time, according to Hollywood Reporter.   

The show generated 38million social interactions, which was more than any other program on television this year.

MTV isn’t the only award shows seeing declining numbers in recent years.

The Grammys lost almost 53 per cent of its viewership at this year’s ceremony in March, despite powerhouse performances by Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Megan Thee Stallion. 

Music’s biggest night only pulled in 8.8million viewers, down from the 18.7million in 2020, according to Variety. 

The Golden Globes’ viewership plummeted 63 per cent too from 2020 with only 6.9million viewers tuning in 2021 compared to the 18.4million the year prior. 

The show hit a 13-year low this year, according to CNBC. 

Other award shows like the American Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards also hit record lows, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

The AMAs only ranked in 2.8million viewers this year compared to 4.01million in 2020. 

The BBMAs also ranked in 2.8million in 2021, but pulled smaller numbers in 2020 than the AMAs with only 3.71million watching. 

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