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MTV considering options for VMAs as clip-stream viewing totally out-performs audience for telecast

By | Published on Wednesday 31 August 2016


MTV says it is considering airing the VMAs live across the US next year – rather than putting it out at 9pm across the entire country, which means it airs live on the East Coast, but pre-recorded in other time zones.

Doing so would be a rather late-in-the-day acknowledgement that event television now happens as much online as on air as people chatter and comment via their social networks of choice. Though it would also mean the show airing in a less prime slot in some parts of the country, which could hit ad income.

Keeping the VMA brand money flowing is a challenge for MTV, which faces much the same problem as most legacy media. The TV audience for the event has slumped in recent years, despite it being aired on eleven different Viacom-owned channels this time.

Official ratings reckon that 6.5 million people tuned in this year, compared to 9.8 million a year earlier. But the viewing of online clips from the show on both MTV’s website and across the social networks was up significantly, from just over 30 million to 149 million streams according to the broadcaster.

How do you generate decent ad revenue from the online viewing though? Especially when clips are consumed via third-party platforms which either control the advertising, or even worse don’t offer the option to put any advertising alongside the content at all.

“Gone are the days where TV is where you go to – TV has to come to you”, observed MTV President Sean Atkins, according to Billboard. “In a world where you are multi-platforming, when I can experience it on my feed from my friends on Facebook who are in New York, are you better off just going live? You give everyone essentially equal access to every platform at the same time”.