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Kudocast endures sleepy time down South

NBC awards presentation draws big, upscale on the coasts but soft red-state numbers are a drag

If a rival net wanted to effectively counterprogram the Golden Globes, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go with a NASCAR race or a college football game featuring the Southeastern Conference.

A market-by-market analysis of Nielsen data confirms what many may have surmised regarding just who plops down on the couch to watch Hollywood honor itself — or, rather, foreign journos honor Hollywood.

First, of course, is that the audience is heavily female (about two-thirds of adults tuning in). But the aud for the Globes — airing again on Monday next year, Jan. 15 on NBC — is also fairly heavily skewed to major markets and the coasts.

Yes, there really is a red-state/blue-state divide when it comes to not only politics but also Hollywood’s big kudocasts. And the Golden Globes, during which the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. fetes the best in both film and television, is perhaps the best example of this schism.

According to Nielsen data for the past three years, five of the country’s top 15 markets were among the 10 highest-rated cities for the Golden Globes (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit and Seattle) while only one of the 10 lowest-rated markets is among the 15 biggest in the country (Houston).

Further, while it may be simplistic to label states red and blue (all of California isn’t blue and all of Florida isn’t red), the Globes play much better in blue parts of the country.

While the 10 top-rated markets for the Golden Globes comprise six blue-state cities and four red-state ones, the bottom 10 consist entirely of red-state markets. The bottom 10-rated markets last year for both the Oscars and Emmys produced similar results: The 10 lowest markets are from red states.

And which is at the bottom of the list when it comes to the top 55 markets in the country? With the exception of Dayton, Ohio, and Salt Lake City, Utah, the cities can all be found in the South (see chart) — including the “villes” of Jacksonville, Knoxville and Nashville.

Not surprisingly, these were some of the top-performing markets for the Country Music Assn. Awards this fall on ABC. And for this kudocast, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami were all among the 10 lowest-rated cities.

Upscale clientele

The Globes, Oscars and Emmys also draw a more upscale aud than typical series programming, with the coasts again leading the way.

Nielsen breaks down the country among six geographic regions, and the wealthiest of Golden Globes viewers last January on NBC resided in the Pacific and Northeast regions.

On the West Coast, adult auds under 50 were 18% more likely than the overall audience to live in a household earning $100,000 or more, and in the Northeast they were 17% more likely. Contrast this with the Central East region (think Cleveland and Pittsburgh), where auds were 17% less likely to live in an upscale home, and the Southeast, where they were 24% less likely.

“Many viewers in these markets avail themselves of Hollywood cultural products, but they don’t relate to the Hollywood culture,” says John Rash, a media buyer for Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis. “They go to the movies and watch television, but awards season in much of the country doesn’t have anywhere near the resonance as along the coasts.”

This is hardly a cause of concern for NBC, though.

“(Weakness in the South) keeps the Academy Awards and Golden Globes from having the same mass appeal as the Super Bowl,” Rash says, “but the networks are reaching a premium audience that is very valuable for advertisers.”