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Sex and Drugs Can’t Save MTV from Disappointing VMA Ratings

Miley Cyrus’ bare chest and repeated reminders that she enjoys smoking marijuana couldn’t help MTV shake off disappointing viewer totals for its Sunday night broadcast of the Video Music Awards.

According to the Wrap, this year’s VMAs broadcast on MTV was watched by 5.03 million people, down 39 percent from the 8.3 million who tuned in last year.

The numbers improve slightly when all 1o Viacom-owned networks that broadcasted the show, including Comedy Central and VH1, are factored in: across those channels, the awards show drew 9.8 million total viewers, down 500,000 from last year’s 10.3 million. Last year, the VMAs were broadcast on just four channels.

Deadline reports that MTV did not send VMA viewership stats to media outlets this year, as the network typically only sends ratings out when they’re good.

However, the silver lining for the network is that this year’s VMAs became the most-tweeted non-sports television program since Nielsen began tracking social media interactions. The show generated 21.4 million tweets that reached 11.8 million people. On Facebook, 16 million people engaged in 39 million interactions with posts related to the show.

The VMAs were also reportedly streamed online 19.1 million times, up more than 150 percent over the previous year.

The watermark year for the VMAs came in 2011, when 12.4 million total viewers tuned in.

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