MTV's VMAs Average 11 Million Viewers

Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Taylor Swift helped Sunday's MTV's Video Music Awards show achieve its best viewership performance in eight years.

The annual event averaged 11.4 million viewers, marking the best performance of any VMA show since the 2002 telecast drew 11.9 million viewers, according to network officials. The show -- in which pop star Lady Gaga won three "moon man" statuettes during a ceremony that also featured musical performances by Justin Beiber, Kanye West, Eminem, Rihanna and Taylor Swift -- is now the third most-watched telecast in MTV history.

Last year's VMA telecast drew 8.9 million viewers.
The show, hosted by talk show personality Chelsea Handler, also drew 7.9 million viewers among the network's target 12-to-34 year old demographic - tying the 2002 VMAs as the most watched show in the demo and generating a 33% increase above the 2009 VMAs, said the network.
"Every year, MTV celebrates the music and creative genius of artists we have the privilege of working with all year long," said Van Toffler, President of the MTV Networks Music & Logo Group in a statement. "Last night's luminescent VMA setting provided the perfect backdrop to do just that and we're thrilled the audience resoundingly agreed."
 In addition, a preview episode of MTV reality series World of Jenks
following the VMAs drew 4.8 million viewers, marking the network's
highest-rated series launch ever, according to MTV officials.

VMA Viewership Over The Years

Year Total ViewersP 12-34
2002         11.9 million              7.9 million
2003        10.7 million              6.9 million
2004           10 million               6.8 million
2005          5.8 million               5.4 million
2006         5.7 million               3.8 million
2007          7.7 million               4.9 million
2008          8.4 million               5.7 million
2009         8.9 million               5.8 million
2010        11.4 million              7.9 million
Source: Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen data

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.