The 2017 VMAs Drew Lowest Ratings in MTV History

Things aren't looking too good for the VMAs.

Katy Perry VMA

Katy Perry performs onstage during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards held at The Forum on August 27, 2017 in Inglewood, California.

Katy Perry VMA

The MTV Video Music Awards are facing a huge ratings slump.

According to the Washington Post, this year’s award show drew a total of 5.4 million viewers, making it the lowest-rated VMAs in history—or at least since 1994, when Nielsen started measuring the show.

Some of you might’ve seen this coming, as the 2017 broadcast coincided with the highly anticipated Game of Thrones season finale, which reportedly drew 12.07 million viewers Sunday night. But this year’s historically low viewership wasn’t exactly shocking. The VMAs has seen a steady decline in ratings for the past several years: 6.5 million watched the 2016 broadcast, 9.8 million watched the year before, and 10.3 million tuned into 2014’s. The highest-rated broadcast was 2002’s with 11.95 million viewers.

So, what’s going on? Are the VMAs losing relevancy? And, if so, why?

The Washington Post points out that although Game of Thrones completely dominated Sunday night, the VMAs were able to beat the HBO series among teenage viewers. Again, not too shocking when you consider teens have been MTV’s core demographic since, well, forever.

It’s also important to note that the VMAs are now available to stream online, which might explain the steady drop among TV audiences. The 2016 awards show reportedly drew 45.8 million streams on Facebook, and 4.4 million streams in 2015. This year, you could watch online if you had an existing cable TV subscription. So maybe audiences are still tuning in—just not in the traditional way. 

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