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Where did all of MTV's viewers go?

Members of the British band One Drection, from left, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, obscured, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, perform at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)Members of the British band One Drection, from left, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, obscured, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, perform at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — What a difference a year makes for MTV's "Video Music Awards" — and not in a good way.

MTV's annual big event was seen by 6.1 million viewers last week. Nielsen, a company that measures media consumption, says that's less than half of the 12.4 million who watched in 2011. That was believed to be MTV's most-watched program ever.

The awards show started about an hour earlier than it usually does to avoid conflicting with President Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The TV viewership may have been down, but MTV says it was a big event on social media.