MTV’s Video Music Awards faced stiff competition Sunday night from the season-seven finale of “Game of Thrones.” But the awards show managed to outperform the fantasy drama’s record-breaking episode in the teen demographic, averaging 309,000 teen viewers for the seven-network simulcast, according to Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers.
The VMAs also saw its share of younger viewers 12-24 increase from last year’s show.
Overall, linear ratings for the VMAs were down 16% in MTV’s target 18-34 demo, with a 4.46 — down from a 5.33 rating last season. The VMAs have seen steady linear ratings declines in recent years as the network has shifted its strategy around the show to emphasize social media. The show averaged just over 6 million total linear viewers, down from 6.5 million last year. But for the month of August, MTV is up 31% year over year in primetime 18-34.
On Twitter, the VMAs trended globally for 13 hours Sunday. From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, the show was the number-one trending topic in the U.S. While linear viewership for awards shows in general has trended down in recent years, MTV has changed its VMA approach to include the sharing of clips from the show on social media channels — and the monetization of those shared clips through sponsorship. At the show’s peak, the VMAs accounted for eight of Twitter’s Top 12 U.S. trending topics Sunday night.