A downward rating trend among televised awards shows continued this week with the “MTV Video Music Awards.”
Despite a star-studded lineup, Rolling Stone reported the program set a new low for viewership numbers Monday night.
The trend follows a familiar trajectory, which has accelerated in recent years. In 2014, more than 10 million viewers tuned in. That number dwindled to just 5.23 million this year.
Whatever the cause, Nielsen Media Research found that this year’s ratings were the lowest for the awards show since tracking began 25 years ago.
Analysts note that the day of the week could have played some part in the lower ratings. In previous years the VMAs had been broadcast on Sunday nights.
Fox News reported that the average viewership for this year’s show was 2.25 million.
Year over year, that represents a 16 percent dip for the 2018 presentation, which was hosted by comedians Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. The rate of decrease was slightly higher among viewers between 18 and 49, a coveted demographic for advertisers.
As The Western Journal previously reported, several presenters and performers tied their appearances to criticism of the Trump administration.
Hart took a few jabs at President Donald Trump’s stance on protests by NFL players, telling the audience Monday night that anyone watching would be “allowed to kneel” if they so desired.
“There’s no old white man that can stop you,” the host added.
He went on to rib the administration for its reputation for infighting and disorder among high-ranking staff.
Hart described the Video Music Awards as “basically like a typical day in the White House,” explaining that “beefs pop off, bad language, people run to the bathroom and send out crazy tweets.”
One of the program’s musical performers also attracted some attention for his Trump critique. Logic, a rapper whose real name is Robert Bryson Hall II, wore a shirt with the message “F— the Wall” during his performance.
MTV put a positive spin on the reports, citing a changing media landscape and the importance of digital viewership. In that arena, the network claimed success.
In a statement, MTV cited estimates of “some 141.6 million video streams of content related to the awards show for the past month,” or nearly twice the total reported in 2017.
With major developments breaking on the domestic and international stage on a daily basis, Rolling Stone noted that far more viewers opted to keep up with the news than the nominees of yet another award.
Both “World News Tonight” on ABC and “CBS Evening News” handily outperformed the Video Music Awards program, which was simulcast across the Viacom family of television networks.
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