VMAs Hit an All-Time Ratings Low — for the Third Straight Year

Ratings for the MTV Video Music Awards just took another bath.

The 2019 awards show, which broadcasted on August 26th, was watched by a new all-time-low number of viewers.  Just 1.93 million fans tuned in for the program on MTV, down from 2.25 million in 2018.  The highly coveted 18-49 demographic also slipped, with this year’s VMAs putting in a 0.9 rating against last year’s 1.1. 2017’s VMAs attracted 5.4 million watchers.

Furthermore, the 2019 VMAs aired live on all Viacom stations, including MTV, MTV2, BET, Paramount Network, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, VH1, and others. The ratings total peaked at 4.9 million, down from 2018’s 5.2 million.

This trend of decreasing viewership isn’t new. The VMAs garnered 10.3 million viewers in 2014, 9.8 million viewers in 2015, and 6.5 million viewers in 2016.

Whatever the cause of this continual ratings decline, it can be stated with confidence that a lack of star power isn’t to blame.

The 2019 VMAs were hosted by comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, who has a prominent role in The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated upcoming film. Numerous high-profile artists performed live, including Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, the Jonas Brothers, and Miley Cyrus, amongst others. Additionally, numerous musicians and celebrities were featured in the audience.

While MTV execs were disappointed by the drop in television viewers, they did tout an uptick in social-media engagements. The additional social media interactions, although significant, are unlikely to bring major increases in ad revenue and sponsors.

Taylor Swift was given a Video of the Year Award for “You Need to Calm Down,” and Ariana Grande was voted Artist of the Year. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus accepted a Song of the Year Award for “Old Town Road.” was named Group of the Year.