If it felt like there was less buzz, less conversation and less memes coming out of this year’s MTV VMAs there was a very good reason for it. According to the Associated Press, the 2017 iteration of the decade’s old award show was the least-watched one in its history. After tallying everything together, the VMAs notched just 5.68 million viewers across 10 different networks on Sunday night.
While that number may seem high when stacked against most major programming, its a bad sign for MTV as it marks the fourth year in a row that the network has seen a decline in the crown jewel of its annual calendar. According to the Nielsen company, 6.5 million people tuned into the program back in 2016, while 9.8 million watched just the year before that. Just 15 years earlier, when MTV was at its zenith, 11.9 million people viewed the VMAs when it was broadcast on a single channel only.
There are a number of factors that could have fed into the decline in viewership. It certainly didn’t help that they were counter-programmed against the season finale of Game Of Thrones, the absolute biggest television show in the world. Also, the lack of star-presence, especially when compared to year’s past might’ve hurt its potential to draw larger ratings. Whatever the reason may be, these new, lower numbers aren’t exactly the best sign for the show going forward.