Jun 28, 2018

By Stuart Winchester
The numbers speak for themselves.

With Jamie Foxx at the helm and a parade of headline performers electrifying the stage, the 2018 BET Awards once again landed as the top-rated and most-talked-about cable awards show of the year, drawing 4.3 million viewers across eight Viacom networks.

The numbers speak for themselves – the BET Awards are: the top cable awards show in the key 18-49 demographic for the fourth consecutive year*; the top cable awards among African-Americans 18-49 for the 17th straight year; and the most social cable awards show year-to-date and most social program of the night, sparking 2.1 million interactions (+89 percent total engagements from 2017) across Facebook and Twitter, topping even soccer’s World Cup for online buzz.

The cross-platform success of BET’s tentpole event capped a strong week for Viacom’s burgeoning live-events business, as ratings and viewership exploded for the MTV Movie & TV Awards, and Vidcon’s first major convention since sliding under the Viacom umbrella met positive marks for retaining its creative soul. Meanwhile, the company’s core television business continued to strengthen behind the debut of Paramount Network’s Yellowstone, which was the most-viewed cable scripted drama in more than two years.

Strong performances and a broad-based award slate that honors everything from the best in music (Cardi B, Drake, Kendrick Lamar), to industry legends (eight-time Grammy-winner Anita Baker, former BET CEO Debra Lee), and humanitarian achievements (Parkland hero Anthony Borges, 11-year-old March For Our Lives speaker Naomi Wadler), fused to drive the strong ratings and social metrics for the BET Awards. In a lineup that included Janelle Monae’s acrobatic rapping, a surprise appearance by J. Cole, and a multi-genre performance by Snoop Dogg, Meek Mill met universal acclaim for what the Washington Post called, “the night’s most powerful performance,” addressing a matrix of issues from police brutality to mass incarceration on a recreated street corner in his new single Stay Woke:

In keeping with Viacom’s emphasis on creating interactive live events, BET did not limit the fans to the digital sphere – the free BET Experience drew thousands to downtown Los Angeles for the sixth consecutive year, where concerts from Chris Brown, Sza, LL Cool J, and many more played over a four-day music, comedy and entertainment festival.


  1. The Nielsen Company Fasties | Live + Same Day Data | For Highlighted Rankings: All Cable Telecasts with Type Code = Award Ceremony plus BET, CMT, ESPN, MTV, NICK Awards; Excludes Repeats, Pre-Shows & Post Shows; Does Not Aggregate Simulcast; All Ranked on ALL P18-49 Impressions (000)
  2. Social based on Nielsen Social Content Ratings, linear metrics. *1/1/18-6/24/18 excluding Instagram owned data. Digital based on Adobe Analytics, day of BET Awards and period of BET Experience, Awards/Experience content only across all platforms. Data retrieved 6/25/2018. “Same weekend” last year in reference to full BET Experience time period.