As award shows try to figure out the right formula for putting on an event comparable to live, pre-COVID TV events, MTV’s annual Video Music Awards put on quite a show Sunday. Complete with social distancing, COVID-compliant production numbers and lots of cool face masks (thanks to Lady Gaga), the VMAs delivered strong numbers with its 2020 ceremony hosted by Keke Palmer.
Although down 5% from last year, the VMAs still managed to net a solid 6.4 million viewers with its pre-show, post-show, main show and encores. The ceremony, which was simulcast on 13 ViacomCBS brands, was also up 8% from last year in Total Minutes Consumed on linear and digital combined (1.330 billion vs. 1.229 billion a year ago).
For the first time, the VMAs aired on broadcast TV via the CW, which helped grow the audience in the Sunday time slot specifically in the younger demo.
Executive produced by Den of Thieves co-founder Jesse Ignjatovic, the 2020 VMAs definitely spoke to an era as it included socially distanced red carpet interviews, virtual interactions with audience members at home, lots of segments that were clearly shot on a green screen and drive-in performances.
The ceremony could have easily been called the “Gaga Awards” as she topped the night with five Moon Persons including trophies for Artist of the Year and the inaugural Tricon Award. The Weeknd took home the award for Video of the Year with “Blinding Lights,” while Ariana Grande and K-pop super group BTS took home four awards each.