Didn’t Like The Video Music Awards? Too Bad, There’s More Where That Came From

vmalogocropped.jpgSure, many people with access to the Internet might agree that this year’s Video Music Awards were among the worst ever. But it looks like whoever is sitting in a cubicle arbitrarily making up television ratings (or, possibly, the scientific data collection method that actually determines these things) disagrees. This year, ratings were up, up, up!

As a matter of fact, ratings were up across the demographic board, an odd phenomenon in the age of DVRs and instant availability through video sharing and P2P networks.

* According to Cable Fast national data, the premiere airing of the VMAs averaged an 8.1 P12-34 grossed rating on MTV and MTV2, growing 26% from last year and 37% from two years ago.
* On MTV only, the show averaged a 7.4 P12-34 rating, representing a 15% increase over last year’s VMAs and up 41% from the 2006 awards.
* The VMA premiere on MTV is the highest-rated telecast on cable year-to-date among P12-34.

You read that correctly: the VMA premiere drew more viewers than even the Top Chef finale I couldn’t believe it either. Who was not only watching this thing, but staying interested the entire time? At first, I just assumed the audience entirely consisted of bloggers and Rihanna fans, but MTV reports that Web site traffic has hit all-time highs as well, indicating people watched the show and still wanted more content–a concept I’m completely incapable of processing. Apparently people would rather see Britney win awards for a lousy video than provide evidence for her forced institutionalization. Who knew?

If Disney has anything to say about it, Russell Brand probably won’t be back for the 2009 ceremony. So I guess we’ll just have to expect more random nonsense with no particular cohesive narrative this time next year. Do you think Spencer and Heidi will still be around to brighten up the festivities with their sparkling wit?


  • loudersoft

    The reasons it drew so many people is because everyone was hoping for something that wasn’t there. Next year, the numbers will plummet.

  • Rob Murphy

    I don’t have access to the number translators that would convert that 8.1 rating to a “number of viewers” or “share of the audience”, but I’ll trust HITS’ interpretation.

    BTW, the “Camp Rock” premiere back in June drew 8.9 million viewers. And the “High School Musical 2″ premiere last summer drew 17.2 million viewers.

  • Al Shipley

    Wow, haven’t the VMA ratings been on a downward spiral forever? I’m honestly interested to hear the theories here. Was it all the fans of “The Hills”? Or just the fact that there are now millions of people watching every awards show for the sole purpose of liveblogging it?

  • JohnDoe

    @Al Shipley: They were up big last year as well, after the crash&burn of the previous two years. So two years of Britney = two years of growth? Who knows.

    @Rob Murphy: That’s a cume number (as in – how many people watched at some point during the show). I bet when MTV does their big press-release, it will be in the 20-million plus.

  • The Illiterate

    Two words: Jonas Brothers

  • revmatty

    I managed to get through almost ten minutes of it, including the awful opener bit where Brit gets advice from some random dude. The only thing actually interesting about awards shows is when something unexpected happens. Harder to do in the internet era when everyone who sees the rehearsals rushes out to be the first to blog it, but surprise performances by someone OTHER than flavor of the week artists, funny skits (yes, the skits actually being funny would qualify as unexpected, are they still hiring Vilanche to write this crap?), train wrecks (RATM are the winners here, but streakers or people running up to accept an award for someone they claim isn’t there tonight as said winner tries to get up to the stage are always welcome as well).

    To summarize: Award shows are predictable and boring.

  • egg cream

    @loudersoft: Yeah, I have a feeling that the answer to Dan’s “Who was [...] staying interested the entire time?” question is “People who thought Britney might come back out for a surprise show-closing performance.”

  • ObtuseIntolerant

    @The Illiterate: True.

    But – as ridiculous as it sounds – a bunch of them claim to be organizing a boycott of all Viacom subsidiaries (including websites) to the best of their abilities, thanks to the lure-the-JB-fans-then-slap-them-in-the-face-and-send-them-home-with-no-award approach.

    I doubt they’ll be able to pull it off though. Darn.

  • amandacobra

    Am I so old and out of the loop that your mention of file sharing and P2P networks was meant to indicate that people were intending on skipping the broadcast but were so intent on seeing their fave artist (alright, let’s drop the pretense and just say Jonas Brothers) that they were gonna wake up bright and early Monday morning to start downloading the torrent of the show? Presumably, the people in question have cable but would have chosen to NOT watch the show. But would care enough to see it to download it (or the portion of the show they cared about without having to sit through the endless ads and crap).

    Sorry I forgot my point.

  • Maura Johnston

    @amandacobra: youtube? or mtv.com even

  • Chris Molanphy

    I actually thought this year — thanks largely to Brand, when he was rambling and not trying to do traditional standup — was a sizable improvement over last year’s train wreck. It wasn’t a classic a la the ’90s, but it at least resembled a straight awards show rather than an over-blogged/”you make the action!” solipsism-fest.

    I even liked some of the live performances — including songs I don’t actually like! I’m thinking of Pink in particular: still can’t stand that joint when it comes on the radio, but her live performance was compelling and relatively no-bullshit and actually made the song sound better. Rihanna was also decent (weirdly, her voice was stronger for the T.I. duet than for “Disturbia,” but maybe that’s because she was less distracted by onstage froufrou), and the interstitial performances (except Katy P., natch) were generally fine.

    I mean, on a VMA scale of 1 to 10, it’s still a 4, at best, but after last year’s 1 and the deadly-dull pair of years they were in that friggin’ Miami airplane hangar, I feel like they’re starting to right the ship. Guess I’m alone in this opinion.

  • LostTurntable

    Yet another reason why I hope the Large Hadron Collider sucks up the world in a miniature black hole.