MTV Awards Proves Ratings and Sales Hit (Even for Miley)

Just days after the VMAs were broadcast, it's clear that appearing on the show is worth the time for artists

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Jemal Countess / FilmMagic via Getty Images

Lady Gaga onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 25, 2013, in New York City

The MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 25 proved divisive for audiences, with debate still raging over the performances—and one in particular. But, whether or not viewers actually liked what they saw at this year’s VMAs, one thing is clear: the show was a hit for the network—and for the artists it featured.

MTV announced on Aug. 27 that the broadcast scored as the top-watched cable entertainment telecast of 2013 among viewers ages 12–34, with a total of 10.1 million viewers. That’s an increase of more than 60% over last year’s numbers. An additional 2.8 million people watched it as a rerun, and more than 4 million checked out MTV’s web and mobile content on the day after the broadcast, making it the biggest day ever for MTV’s mobile content.

The show itself didn’t break VMA viewership records—that honor goes to 2011’s 12.4 million viewers—but, if you count meme-worthiness, it’s hard to imagine this year’s show in anywhere but first place.

(MORE4 Reasons You’re Still Hearing About Miley Cyrus’ VMAs Performance)

The artists who performed didn’t do so badly either.

MTV reports that Justin Timberlake, who won the night’s most prestigious award, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, saw a 1,876% bump in Amazon and iTunes sales on the day of the broadcast versus the day before. (‘NSYNC, despite the furor over their brief onstage reunion, saw only a 156% increase.) Timberlake wasn’t alone: Lady Gaga saw a 112% increase for her single “Applause”; Bruno Mars’ album re-entered the iTunes album top 10; Kanye West saw a 139% increase in sales of his album Yeezus; Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” follow-up single “Give It 2 U” jumped 306%.

But that’s not who you’re wondering about, is it?

Yes, Miley Cyrus, the woman in the stretchy nude bikini thing who has been driving conversation ever since she popped out of a giant teddy bear with her tongue out, has had a good couple of days. Her album Bangerz isn’t even out until October—but, following the show, iTunes pre-orders moved it to the Number 5 chart slot.

(WATCHThe VMAs: The Best and Worst Performances of the Night)