Hey, did you catch the Grammys last night? No? Me neither. I was watching something about the murder of Tesla. But by the looks of things, we’re not alone in the Watch Something Else club. The ratings for this edition of “the biggest night in music” weren’t just off… they tanked. Dominic Patten at Deadline described it as “losing their groove” but from the looks of it, they lost the entire turntable.
Maybe it was the more than three and a half hour run time, maybe it was the surprise Hillary Clinton cameo and political stances than seemed to take up more airtime than the music or maybe it was the move to a January broadcast that hobbled last night’s Grammys. Regardless of the reason, somewhere the 60th annual Grammy Awards lost the groove – at least when it comes to ratings and viewers.
James Corden’s second kick at the Grammy host can last night saw 19.81 million tune into watch music’s supposedly biggest night. That’s down 24% from the final viewership of the February 12, 2107 Grammys and the worst the CBS aired ceremony has done since 2009.
Among the key demographic of adults 18-49, Sunday’s Bruno Mars topping Grammys snagged a 5.9. Coming off metered market ratings earlier today that projected an all-time ratings low, the demo result has fallen 24% from the 59th annual Grammys to hit that rock bottom result.
Seriously? A 24% drop in one year?
Perhaps this is putting one significant question to bed for us and proving an older, more established theory as the truth. First of all, it appears that people actually were tuning into the Grammys for the music. The idea that everyone was more interested in being lectured on politics and social justice questions by a bunch of people with no particular standing as experts in either area isn’t looking very good right now.
But even more to the point, keep in mind that these awards shows are still “selling a product” in fiscal terms. The proof of viability comes in the ratings and how much advertising time the network can sell. And much like any company selling a product, you have to remember that you’re pushing out your offerings to a steeply divided nation. No matter whether you skew liberal or conservative, when you dip your toe into this shark pool you’re risking turning off half of your audience. The Grammys may not have lost a full half of their audience, but they weren’t starting with Super Bowl level viewership to begin with.
Those numbers aren’t a glitch or a momentary hiccup in the system. They were a disaster. And the movie awards shows and all the rest are experiencing the same thing. Will they learn their lesson? Color me skeptical. The big names they feature seem to really enjoy hearing themselves talk. That’s a pity for them because most of the country probably just wanted to hear them sing.