Channel 5 helps Viacom achieve record viewers for MTV EMA's 20th birthday

Channel 5 helped the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) attract its highest TV audience of more than 2.3 million in the UK on Sunday for the event's 20th anniversary.

Nicki Minaj: host of MTV EMA's 20th birthday show
Nicki Minaj: host of MTV EMA's 20th birthday show

According to Barb overnight ratings, the two-hour music awards show, broadcast "as live" from the SSE Hydro in Glasgow at 9pm (GMT) last night, attracted an average audience of 551,000 viewers for its first free-to-air broadcast on Channel 5.

The broadcast follows Channel 5 being acquired by MTV founder, Viacom, in September in a £450 million deal.

Last night's show was also watched by an additional 97,000 across MTV UK and its sister service MTV Music.

The collective peak audience across the three channels was 873,000 viewers (Individuals 4+) at just after 10pm. It matched the record overnight ratings for the show delivered the last time it visited Scotland, when it was hosted by Edinburgh in 2003.

At the 2014 MTV EMA, musical performances included host Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, Ariane Grande, Alicia Keys and U2.

It attracted more than three times the overnight audience that watched on MTV the last time the event was staged in the UK, when it was held in Belfast in 2011 (average overnight audience 216k Inds 4+).

In all, more than 2.3 million viewers tuned in to Channel 5 and MTV during last night's broadcast from Glasgow, including 710,000 16- to 34-year-old viewers.

Viewers who tuned in were treated to a stand-out performance by host Nicki Minaj who also walked away with the prize for Best Hip Hop Act. British band One Direction took home three awards (as well as being voted Best British Act in the Worldwide Act category) while Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and 5 Seconds of Summer all won two awards each.

The show kicked-off by transporting viewers back to 1994, where a young Nicki Minaj watched the first-ever MTV EMA from her bedroom before travelling into the future, making a grand entrance into the 2014 MTV EMA in a frilled ball gown and sequined bra.

Minaj performed a blend of her biggest hits including ‘Super Bass’, ‘Anaconda’ and her new track ‘Bed of Lies’, which featured a surprise appearance by Skylar Grey.

Irish rockers U2 made their fourth appearance at the MTV EMA with a rendition of ‘Every Breaking Wave’, accompanied by a strings section.

Alicia Keys serenaded the crowd from the nearby viewing party at the O2 Academy Glasgow, while Best Song and Best Female winner Ariana Grande flew over the audience in a Perspex bubble chair, singing a medley of her hits ‘Problem’ and ‘Break Free’.

Ed Sheeran brought his chart-topping track ‘Thinking Out Loud’ to life, lighting up the stage with an elaborate music box, and rocker Ozzy Osbourne made a return to MTV to accept this year’s Global Icon Award.

In a closing performance, Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil joined guitar legend Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators to pay tribute to Ozzy with a rendition of his hit ‘Crazy Train’.