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It could be further evidence that nobody watches music videos anymore, or it could simply the be the result of an ill-advised move to a Thursday evening time slot, but MTV’s video music awards took a major hit in the ratings compared to last year. The awards show was broadcast last night, a switch from its usual Sunday evening, to less than half the number of viewers who tuned in for the 2011 show.
MTV was once synonymous with music videos, and people actually tuned in to watch them. It’s been many years since videos were the network’s bread and butter, although they have continued to hand out awards for them on an annual basis. The move to a Thursday night is an odd choice for any awards show; and then there's the issue of the Democratic National Convention, where President Obama was scheduled to speak last night. MTV moved the awards show back to 8 PM so as to avoid a conflict, Deadline says, but it doesn’t seem to have helped.
Kevin Hart hosted the show from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a new venue for the event to add to the changes made this year. Among the performers were Pink, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna, all usually pretty big draws.
The awards show did win the night among cable networks, but pulled in only 6.1 million viewers compared to 12.4 million who tuned in to the 2011 broadcast. That’s a huge drop in viewership, and may well be a lesson to MTV. I’m willing to bet the show goes back to a Sunday night next year. Of course, next year there won’t be a Presidential election to contend with either - which they could have done a better job of avoiding a clash with this year with better planning.