MTV is leading its press release about ratings for the Video Music Awards with the fact that almost 27 million people watched the show Sunday night. But that’s not really the whole story.
That figure — 26.9 million, to be more precise — is the number of people that tuned in at some point during the show on three different channels — MTV, MTV2 and VH1. MTV notes that’s a 17-percent improvement over last year’s 23 million, but last year’s awards only aired on MTV and MTV2, so a jump is to be expected.
None of this is to badmouth the ratings performance of the show, which featured a tribute to Michael Jackson, the debut of the latest “Twilight: New Moon” trailer and a notable interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech by Kanye West. Its numbers were up over last year, just not dramatically so.
In terms of average number of viewers — the standard measurement for prime-time shows — MTV’s telecast was up by about 6 percent, rising from 8.43 million viewers last year to just under 9 million this year. That’s the best performance for the show since 2004. VH1 and MTV2 kicked in a little over 2 million more viewers, bringing the total to 11 million.
Among MTV’s core audience of teenagers and adults under 35, the VMAs scored a 7.5 rating on MTV, the best since 2005.
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