The final audience figures are in for the 2021 Grammy Awards, and as anticipated, they make for ugly reading.
The Grammys shed 53% (-9.9 million) of the 2020 awards audience, which took place at the end of January. This confirms the terrifying downward trend that awards shows have seen is real, and will be of concern not just to the Oscars, but the awards shows taking place before the April 25th ceremony. The Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards will be hoping their shows buck the trend, but this looks extremely unlikely.
It has been suggested that moving the awards out of their regular calendar slot is one reason for the declines, as in their new slot, they lack the marketing power from NFL post-season games taking place in January. There is merit to the idea that marketing exposure has been lost for awards like the Grammys and the Golden Globes–although award show viewers aren’t what you’d typically picture an NFL fan as being–but it is important to note that several awards shows took place in their scheduled slot in November, with the People’s Choice Awards down -44%, the American Music Awards down -40% and the CMAs down -37%. In other words, the significant audience declines occur regardless of if a ceremony is held in its typical week or not.
The big worry will be that this points to an emerging viewer who, much like VIP has found with sports, prefers to watch highlights of their favorite artists performing at the event for free on YouTube, in their own time, than sit for a multi-hour show that isn’t always of interest. This looks to be the latest crack in how the consumption of content is changing between generations, with it creating another chink in traditional TV’s armor.