‘2015 MTV Video Music Awards’ Sets All-Time Tweets Record for a Non-Sports Program

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“The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards,” the annual highly-rated late-summer pop culture event, dominated social media for the week of August 24. According to Nielsen, the August 30th telecast totaled a record amount of tweets ever for a non-sports program (since data from 2011) with 21.36 million tweets. They were written by 2.24 million unique authors, seen by a unique audience of 11.82 million people (generating 676.32 million Twitter TV impressions). The awards were hosted by a scantily-clad Miley Cyrus and some of the night’s big winners and most notable performers were Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. The moment of the awards that drew the most attention was when Kanye West accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and concluded his lengthy acceptance speech that he will be running for U.S. President in 2020.

Comparatively from the year-ago Video Music Awards (August 24, 2014), it drew nine percent more of a unique Twitter audience, up 16 percent in unique Twitter authors about the VMAs and an impressive 69 percent increase in generated tweets on the evening.

USA’s “WWE Raw” on August 24 (2.96 million Twitter users/283,000 tweets/66,000 unique authors/18.25 million impressions) was runner-up for the week among series and specials. The episode was the aftermath of the previous night which was the August 23 pay-per-view “SummerSlam.” Jon Stewart, who assisted Seth Rollins in defeating the fan-polarizing John Cena at SummerSlam, was himself bodyslammed by Cena on Raw in retaliation. At the conclusion, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon of The Authority planned to present Rollins a statue commemorating his victories of the World Heavyweight and United States championship belts. But to everyone’s surprise, in lieu of an expected statue, it was an appearance by legendary wrestler Sting who attacked Rollins and emerged as his new rival.

Week two of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” from August 30 (1.56 million Twitter users/80,000 tweets/34,000 unique authors/5.50 million impressions) placed third for the week, holding up decently from its debut week and opposite the MTV VMAs.

ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” from August 30 earned much notice on social media and became the top sports program of the week, courtesy of the no-hitter thrown by Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta versus the Los Angeles Dodgers in L.A. According to Nielsen, the historic game totaled 228,000 tweets written by 102,000 unique authors, which were seen by a unique audience of 4.06 million people (generating 32.12 million Twitter TV impressions). It was the very first no-hitter featured on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” (since its 1990 inception) as the program featured its first female commentator, noted ESPN softball analyst Jessica Mendoza, who replaced a suspended Curt Schilling due to controversial remarks he had posted on social media earlier in the week.

It was the Cubs’ first no-hitter since Carlos Zambrano from September 14, 2008, and it was the second time within the span of nine days the National League West-leading Dodgers have been no-hit as they were previously blanked by Houston’s Mike Fiers on Aug. 21.

Japan’s 18-11 victory over Pennsylvania in the 2015 Little League World Series on ABC on Aug. 30 (2.96 million Twitter users/52,000 tweets/33,000 unique authors/13.62 million impressions) ranked third for the week among sports telecasts. Comparatively from last year’s Little League world championship (South Korea defeating Chicago on Aug. 24, 2014), it drew 16 percent less in unique Twitter audience and generated 37 percent less tweets.

Most-Tweeted Minutes from the Top 3 Series and Specials:

  • 247,500 Tweets were sent at 10:49pm EST about 2015 MTV Video Music Awards after Kanye West announced his Presidential run in 2020 on stage.
  • 3,400 Tweets were sent at 8:39pm EST about WWE Monday Night Raw following the Dudley Boyz return to WWE.
  • 1,600 Tweets were sent at 9:39pm EST about Fear the Walking Dead after Tobias is attacked and fends off Art as a zombie.

Most-Tweeted Minutes from the Top 3 Sports Events:

  • 19,200 Tweets were sent at 10:52pm EST about MLB Baseball: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers after the Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter game.
  • 2,200 Tweets were sent at 9:06pm EST about NFL Preseason Football: Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a pass by Bengals’ Andy Dalton was intercepted.
  • 1,400 Tweets were sent at 3:50pm EST about Little League Baseball World Series: Red Land (Pa.) vs. Japan following the 10th run scored by the Pennsylvania Little League team, which brought the game to 10-2 Pennsylvania.

According to Nielsen: Activity metrics (Unique Authors and Tweets) are a measure of relevant Twitter activity from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Reach metrics (Unique Audience and Impressions) measure the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets are sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. For the series and specials list, the data includes new/live primetime and late fringe episodes only and excludes sports events. Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings are only available for English-language U.S. Broadcast and Cable Networks.

Unique Audience – The total number of distinct Twitter accounts accruing at least one impression of one or more different Tweets ascribed to a TV episode.

Source: Nielsen