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Where did people watch the 2016 VMAs?

Everyone, even people who don't consider themselves connoisseurs of pop music, has probably heard of the Video Music Awards. Hosted by MTV, the event one of the biggest annual events in terms of entertainment. While not as prestigious as the Oscars or the Tony Awards, the VMAs are nonetheless responsible for helping shape generations of music fans. Cultural establishments rarely stay the same, however, and these awards are no different. Despite the fact that the VMAs aired across multiple channels, most people watched the event online.

This year, more people than ever watched the VMAs online.This year, more people than ever watched the VMAs online.

Shifting viewers
This year's VMAs, which aired Aug. 28, were set to be bigger than ever. Beyonce gave an extended performance from her recent album, while Rihanna had four different performances throughout he night. Rapper Kanye West also took the stage, and this year saw the return of pop icon Britney Spears to the VMAs. Viacom, the network's parent company, broadcast the event across a total of 11 channels, including MTV, VH1, MTV2, MTV Classic, BET, Spike, Comedy Central, Logo and CMT, according to Tech Times. Despite these efforts, TV viewership fell 34 percent from last year, dropping from 9.8 million people to 6.5 million, The New York Times reported.

Yet, the award show's online ratings were higher than ever. Overall, streaming viewers jumped 70 percent this year to hit 62.8 million. A significant portion of these viewers - 45.8 million - watched the event through Facebook. Comparatively, only 4.4 million did the same last year.

Creating value, generating revenue
Neither the night's supreme celebrity power nor the simultaneous broadcasts were enough to stop the trend of sliding television viewers. As Ad Age mentioned, the event's ratings across VH1, Comedy Central and BET fell by 20 percent, 43 percent and 48 percent, respectively. This reflects a larger shift away from traditional network television.

In another day and age, a single appearance from one major celebrity alone was enough value to gain a huge amount of viewers. Watching the VMAs live on television was a chance to remain up to date on the world of pop culture, catching the performances and any surprise acts right as they happened. In a sense, watching live TV provided customers with value they couldn't get anywhere else. Now, the idea of value has changed. Instead of spending hours watching a TV event for a handful of performances, people would rather catch the highlights online. They've become accustomed to the commercial-free experience provided by many over-the-top content companies.

The VMAs are just one of many instances where viewers shifted from television to the internet. Companies hoping to monetize video broadcasts should take note and seek ways to profit from online streaming. Using a subscription billing model is the most guaranteed way to succeed in this environment. The success of subscription video content has already been proven by the shift toward services like Netflix and Hulu. Instead of paying for network television, households are cutting cable and switching to platforms where they have greater control over their viewing experience. Using a subscription management service lets companies give their customers this value and control without sacrificing revenue.

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