Scores for this 12 months’s awards exhibits have up to now made for uncomfortable studying for the US TV networks. The Golden Globes pulled in solely 6.9 million viewers this month – a 63 per cent drop from the 18.3 million who watched final 12 months, which itself was an eight-year low for the normal Oscars curtain-raiser, based on market analysis firm Nielsen.
The Globes, it should be mentioned, was a technical catastrophe. Going down remotely, from the very first prize, issues went awry. Greatest Supporting Actor Daniel Kaluuya’s acceptance speech was inaudible, and the glitches continued.
That technical nightmare might have misplaced viewers, however the identical can’t be mentioned for the Grammys. It minimised Zoom interplay in favour of performances from a few of music’s greatest names, together with Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish. There was important reward, however Nielsen reported that viewership nonetheless slumped by 51 per cent from final 12 months to 9.2 million, the present’s lowest ever.
The Oscars crew should be nervous forward of the ceremony this month. Viewership for final 12 months’s telecast already hit an all-time low of 23.6 million, as recorded by Nielsen’s Stay+Identical Day Quick Nationwide rankings, persevering with a downward development that has resulted in audiences slipping from 40 million pre-2015.
Are TV rankings dropping due to the pandemic?
The networks have been fast guilty the pandemic, they usually do have a degree. There have been no blockbuster motion pictures or touring musicians, no workplace water-cooler moments to debate the most recent must-see, and with no crimson carpets, the exhibits are undoubtedly much less interesting than in earlier years.
This isn’t a brand new development, although – all the foremost awards’ rankings have been declining for at the least half a decade. The pandemic might have hastened the method, however it definitely didn’t create it.
Social media has additionally performed a component. There was a time when these occasions had been the one probability for followers to see all their favorite A-listers in a single place, and the chance to take a look at their vogue decisions on the crimson carpet was virtually as interesting because the glitzy ceremonies awards themselves. Now individuals merely go surfing to Instagram or Twitter for stay updates on who gained what, clips of their favorite celebrities, and the perfect, curated viral posts. The necessity to decide to a three-hour-plus TV marathon now looks as if historical historical past.
This hyperlinks in with altering viewers demographics, too. Selection journal reported that final 12 months, the median viewer age for the massive 4 ceremonies – the Oscars, Emmys, Globes and Grammys – handed 50 for the primary time. Among the many 18 to 49 demographic (the most common social media customers), Nielsen’s knowledge exhibits that the Globes suffered a 68 per cent fall this 12 months.
Too many exhibits which are just too lengthy
Awards exhibits could also be feeling the strain now, however traditionally they’ve been rankings gold, similar to in 1998 when greater than 55 million individuals watched Titanic decide up 11 Oscars. Networks noticed awards exhibits as straightforward winners, however oversupply might now be biting again. In addition to the massive 4, US audiences have the Tony Awards, Nation Music Affiliation Awards, Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and plenty of extra, largely screening inside a number of weeks of one another. It’s merely an excessive amount of.
In addition to the sheer quantity, every present is lengthy – actually lengthy. Final 12 months’s Oscars clocked in at three hours and 36 minutes, a lot of it devoted to prizes of little curiosity to these outdoors the trade or celebrating movies similar to Parasite and JoJo Rabbit, which, though nice motion pictures, hadn’t actually resonated on the mainstream field workplace.
The rambling acceptance speeches don’t assist, both. For a lot of they’re merely irritating, however for others they’re like holding up a crimson rag to a bull. Whether or not it’s Joaquin Phoenix advocating for veganism or Rami Malek talking up for immigrants, a 2017 survey by the US Nationwide Analysis Group revealed that 68 per cent of Trump voters disliked political speeches on the Oscars, whereas 66 per cent merely switched off the TV in response. That’s an enormous proportion of your viewers to actively alienate, nonetheless worthy the trigger.
How streaming platforms think about
The expansion of streaming, in the meantime, has modified the trade panorama. Ricky Gervais quipped whereas internet hosting the 2020 Globes that “nobody watches community TV anymore”. He wasn’t completely improper. Nielsen discovered that from 2014 to 2019, primetime viewers numbers for main US networks dropped by 20 per cent.
Over the identical interval, the variety of US households with a subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu shot up considerably from lower than half to greater than three quarters.
Audiences merely can’t watch every little thing, and in the event you haven’t seen half of the flicks or exhibits which are up for an award, you’re much less inclined to take an curiosity
Streaming platforms have additionally instilled an expectation amongst audiences that content material is there every time we wish it. The concept of setting three hours apart at a selected time for stay TV is sort of alien to youthful viewers who’re accustomed to bingeing a whole sequence once they have the time, however pausing and doing one thing else once they don’t.
Streaming has additional led to an enormous improve within the quantity of content material accessible. In 2010, a complete of 216 scripted TV exhibits had been accessible for Emmy consideration, mentioned FX Networks chairman John Landgraf, final 12 months. By 2019, that determine had surged to 532. Audiences merely can’t watch every little thing, and in the event you haven’t seen half of the flicks or exhibits which are up for an award, you’re much less inclined to take an curiosity.
So will awards exhibits go away?
It’s not all unhealthy information. Even with lowered audiences, the most important awards nonetheless rank among the many most-watched exhibits on TV. Nielsen’s knowledge exhibits that final 12 months’s Oscars was the second-highest-rated leisure present of 2020, behind the post-Tremendous Bowl premiere of The Masked Singer, and was the eighth most-viewed present general. The Grammys and Globes made the highest 20, too.
We gained’t see awards exhibits disappear, however we may even see them someplace new. Dick Clark Productions, the producer behind the Globes, is lobbying Disney to place this 12 months’s American Music Awards on ABC and Hulu, and NBC to simulcast the Billboard Music Awards on streaming platform Peacock.
If audiences are heading to streaming websites, logically, awards exhibits ought to, too. “It’s not a artistic or content material situation,” Dick Clark’s president, Amy Thurlow, advised Bloomberg in response to 2020 viewership numbers for the Globes. “It’s a distribution situation.”
Amazon has already stepped into stay occasion TV with sports activities, together with New York Yankees baseball and the English Premier League and Champions League soccer. If awards exhibits are subsequent for streaming platforms, there might be many extra uncomfortable viewing figures to come back for conventional broadcasters.
Revealed: April 3, 2021 08:12 AM