VMAs What's Good? Clearly, Not the Ratings!

Writer: Jake Joseph

In case you missed it (...we all know you did), the MTV Video Music Awards were held Sunday August 27th. Once hailed as housing music’s most shocking moments of the year, the MTV VMA’s seem to be on a downward slope to irrelevancy. Don’t get me wrong the VMAs have rightfully earned their place for bringing you the most excitement, drama, scandals, shade, and amazing artistry in a single night. When you take interrupting rappers, blood soaked performances, twerking in latex, and “Miley what’s good?” into consideration, we can all agree these are moments that made our jaws drop. But, the beloved award shows’ fate may be taking a dark turn.

Let’s look at some facts. The highest viewed VMA’s took place in 2011 with 12.40 million viewers. Keep in mind 1999 and 2002 brought in 11.94 and 11.95 millions viewers respectively, so 12 million isn't a surprising feat for the network. But when you take into consideration the ratings of the last 5 shows, 12 million is a great number to bring in. From 2006 the show’s rating increased steadily. In 2006 there were 5.77 million viewers, 7.08 million in 2007, 8.43 million in 2008, 8.97 million in 2009, 11.40 million in 2010, bringing us to 12.40 million viewers in 2011. An increasing and steady viewer count occurs in the 5 year time span.

Okay enough about the good, let’s dig right into this falling star’s decline. The most dramatic jump occurs from 2011 to 2012, when the viewer count decreased by over half, only bringing in 6.13 million viewers. 2013 greatly spikes back up to 10.1 million. Sadly in 2014 the show lost almost 2 million viewers with a 8.3 million viewer count. Continuing down the timeline 2015 and 2016 continued to show viewer decline with 5.03 and 3.3 million viewers respectively.

Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for. Did 2017 go against the grain and bring in the most views ever? Katy Perry hosted the annual event, Kendrick Lamar opened the show, Ed Sheeran and Lil Uzi Vert teamed up, Demi Lovato performed her smash hit, Pink did an outstanding medley of her greatest songs, and Taylor Swift debuted the new music video for her “liberating” new song, but was the star power enough to make millions across the country tune into MTV? *DRUM ROLL* NO! The show was only viewed by 2.66 million people, making it the lowest viewed year out of 23 total shows. Yikes, let’s all say a quick prayer for whoever had to deliver that news to their boss.

To be fair, the show was held in the midst of one of the the biggest tragedies to hit the states this year, Hurricane Harvey. Affecting the fourth largest city in America, Houston, is it a valid excuse for the low ratings? You decide. Also the season finale Game of Thrones aired at the same time of the awards show, but GoT brought it 12.07 million viewers, a feat MTV has only surpassed once for it’s show. Competition aside, the statistic show that the show was on a decline regardless of adding a hurricane and dragon queen into the mix. Maybe the show has lost it’s fizzle. In the age where you can find whatever you need in a matter of seconds through an iPhone it’s okay that MTV is losing it viewers. People just aren't watching television anymore. Wait, HBO brought in 12 million viewers on the same night and they’re a premium cable channel! HMMMM, I guess people do watch tv, just not the MTV VMAs. Hopefully we won’t be seeing lower numbers when the show airs next year. Whatever the reason for the progressive decline in views, it’s truly sad to see a show that was once the most talked about back to school event, and your guilty pleasure for years is losing its attraction.