The Daytime Emmy Awards is used to being in a state of flux.
The kudosfest, still negotiating a home for this year’s telecast, has switched networks almost annually for four decades and has been beset by a 20-year ratings slide. Case in point: In 1993, the broadcast garnered 22 million viewers. Last year, viewers of the HLN telecast numbered 913,000.
According to Gabriel Gornell, who exec produced the past two telecasts, audience apathy may be due to the ceremony’s strong focus on one genre: soap operas. “There’s a long history in building this special around daytime dramas,” says Gornell.
While only five of 2013’s 118 Emmy-nominated shows were soaps, nine of the 19 awards were soap-centric. Talkers, gameshows and kids’ programming were in the minority, so there probably wasn’t much of a draw for viewers who aren’t aficionados of daytime dramas like “General Hospital.”
The Daytime Emmys also face a demographic challenge. The median age of people watching “The View” and “The Price Is Right” is in the 60s, well outside the coveted 25-54 demo. And it wasn’t until 2013 that the Daytime Emmys pursued younger viewers by live-tweeting the ceremony and accepting online shows into the competition.
Still, it’s surprising that the Daytime Emmys can’t find a TV home at a time when live, DVR-proof events are commanding a premium and kudocasts are on the upswing thanks to second-screen activity.
Per David Michaels of the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the org that spearheads the show, broadcasting the awards event on VOD and streaming it online, in addition to it being on TV, could be the ideal means by which to connect with a larger audience, one that includes the ever-expanding, tech-savvy youth market.
“It would be great to partner with a broadcaster that would stream it online in addition to it being on TV,” says Michaels. “The idea is to reach the largest audience, and so many youth today don’t even think about watching shows on TV. They watch everything on their computers. I’d much rather have people doing that than not watch it at all.”