MTV’s VMAs Ratings Slip 17% Among Adults 18-49

But Sunday show’s “Total Minutes Consumed” rises


The 2021 VMAs on MTV declined 17% in ratings from last year. But that’s not necessarily a *bad* thing.

Sunday’s VMAs on MTV alone had a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49. The negative movement in that important demo is actually pretty positive when you consider the fact that many recent awards shows dropped 50% year to year.

Once again, MTV’s research and PR teams combined Nielsen’s linear numbers for the 2021 VMAs with their own internal digital data into a proprietary metric called “Total Minutes Consumed” (TMC), which they say came to 1.40 billion on Sunday vs. the 1.29 billion the awards show put up in 2020. (Initially, the 2020 number was 1.33 billion, but it adjusted down when final Nielsen data was made available. We do not yet have that comparable final Nielsen feed for Sunday.)

Last year’s simulcast drew drew 6.4 million total linear viewers, which was down 5% from 2019. We do not currently have a comparable number for the 2021 simulcast.

Like 2020, Sunday’s show aired across 13 networks: MTV, VH1, The CW, Comedy Central, Nick At Night, Pop, TV Land, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network, BET, BET Her and CMT.

The 2021 VMAs were a big success on social media, generating 38 million interactions and beating the Super Bowl for the first time ever. That tally makes the Video Music Awards the top telecast of the year on social media.

The 2021 VMAs were hosted by rapper Doja Cat. Justin Bieber, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Foo Fighters, Busta Rhymes and Ed Sheeran were among Sunday’s performers.

Find all of the night’s winners here. Some quickies: Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” Justin Bieber was named Artist of the Year, BTS won Group of the Year and Olivia Rodrigo won Song of the Year for “Driver’s License.”

Bruce Gillmer and Den of Thieves co-founder Jesse Ignjatovic executive produced the VMAs.