MTV VMAs Nosedive 34 Percent in Linear TV Ratings

At least streaming is way up

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Even 11 Viacom networks combined couldn’t crack 7 million linear viewers for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. Times, they are a-changin’.

Sunday’s VMAs nabbed just 6.5 million total TV viewers across the entire simulcast — which consisted of MTV, MTV2, MTV Classic, VH1, Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land, BET, CMT, Centric and Logo — per Nielsen. That’s almost a 34 percent decline from the 2015 version, when Miley Cyrus hosted the show. Unfortunately, that year was already down itself.

However, streaming rose 70 percent last night year over year, according to Omniture — so MTV’s target millennials tuned in, just perhaps not the way traditional advertisers would have preferred. It also makes fair comparisons difficult to really pin down, as the nature of streaming versus ordinary small-screen tune-in remains an apples-to-oranges endeavor.

Still, those streams reached a whopping 62.8 million yesterday, versus 2015’s 36.8 million from the day of the show. Surely MTV is pleased with that adoption.

And on Facebook alone, the 2016 VMAs drew 45.8 million streams — that’s up 938 percent from 2015’s 4.4 million.

Finally, the Beyonce-heavy awards show was easily the most social television program last night, making up 90 percent of all TV-related social media chatter for the evening. It also ended up as the top social show of the week, so there’s that.