Providing MTV With ‘VMA’ Assists

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Families are supposed to help each other. The same thing apparently applies to sister networks in the Viacom family.

MTV enjoyed its biggest audience with the Video Music Awards Sunday night since 2004, as the 25th anniversary of the moonman kudofest attracted 8.43 million viewers -- perhaps with a sisterly assist from VH1 and some of the other Viacom networks.

Instead of running I Love Money and Brooke Knows Best from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sept. 7, VH1 went promotional for MTV. Commercial breaks aside, VH1 over that span ran a rotational series of three promos encouraging its viewers to turn to the VMAs.

One pink screen asked: “Why Aren’t You Watching the VMAs on MTV. We Are.” The closing signed off: “Love VH1,” accompanied by the network’s logo.

That visual then morphed into a screen that read: “Check Out What You’re Missing” and “Live On MTV Right Now,” and flanked by the VMA logo. In the upper left hand corner of the screen, watchers received a triangle-shaped view of host Russell Brand, Britney Spears, the presenters or performers who were on MTV’s air.

A third screen also provided a look at the MTV proceedings, underlined by the message: “This Live VMA Peek Is Brought To You By:” Underneath the copy, VH1 rotated logos for sponsors Taco Bell, men’s cologne TAG and upcoming Warner Bros. theatricals Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey and Body of Lies, which hits theaters Oct. 10.

How much help MTV derived from the promotional play is unclear: VH1 averaged 97,000 viewers over the two-hour period on Sept. 7, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

Elsewhere, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Comedy Central, Spike and The N all did throws to the VMAs in the minutes before the telecast’s 9 p.m. start.

For its part, MTV2 simulcast the VMAs, adding 674,000 viewers on average from the event’s 9 p.m. to 11:20 p.m. premiere.

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