This year’s Grammy Awards hit a 12-year low in viewership, with only 18.7 million people tuning in to watch Sunday’s broadcast.
The drop in viewers is only a 5 percent decrease from last year, which is better than how other awards shows are shaping up when it comes to viewers.
While the Grammy Awards have declined, the viewership has remained fairly steady in comparison with other major awards shows. The Emmys and the Golden Globes have both faced steep declines in viewership in recent years. The Oscars bounced back last year, but before that, they were facing the same decline.
So why don’t we watch awards shows as much as we used to? The easy answer is streaming, but other factors play into the decline as well.
The Diversity Problem
In recent years, the lack of diversity in awards show nominations and winners has left viewers and participators incredibly frustrated.
This year, not a single woman was nominated for the Best Director category at the Academy Awards, leading to #OscarsSoMale.
#OscarsSoWhite has been a rallying cry for change in the Academy Awards system for several years running now, but despite widespread calls for change, much seems to be stagnant when it comes to awards.
The Grammy Awards aren’t much better. In a backstage interview after his win for Best Rap Album for Igor, Tyler the Creator expressed ambiguous feelings over his win and called out the racism in the industry.
To Host or Not To Host?
Awards shows are also facing the problem of finding appropriate hosts. While the Oscars have chosen to go hostless the last two years, other shows have tried to keep the host model going.
While Alicia Keys was fantastic hosting the Grammys, Ricky Gervais had mixed reviews with his controversial Golden Globes hosting. And who can forget about Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s hosting disaster?
The Oscars may have figured out the trick to surviving as an awards show in the streaming era — go host-less.
Is Streaming Killing the Award Show?
I don’t have cable. To watch awards shows, which I love doing, I go to my aunt’s house and use her TV. I can’t imagine many other Americans share my dedication to awards shows enough to go watch them somewhere outside the home.
More and more people are giving up cable for the sake of streaming, and thus far, there is no great way to stream most of the awards shows live on any of the major streaming services. This is definitely something that awards shows need to take into account in the future if they don’t want to keep bleeding viewers.