This year's 5.68 million viewers is down from 6.5 million in 2016 and 9.8 million in 2015.
No longer the event it was when Eminem ruled the charts, the MTV Video Music Awards tallied 5.68 million viewers across 10 different networks on Sunday for a show dominated by Kendrick Lamar's coronation and the debut of Taylor Swift's new video.
That's down from the 6.5 million people who watched the VMAs in 2016, and the 9.8 million who watched the year before, the Nielsen company said. In 2002, back when the show was seen only on MTV, the event drew 11.9 million viewers.
Audiences for awards shows in general are down this year, and MTV had the misfortune of competing with the season finale of HBO's "Game of Thrones." But it's undeniable that MTV's once-outrageous awards show is no longer the fodder for water cooler conversation that it once was.