How is Social Media Changing Award Shows?

While viewing last night’s Grammy awards, I reflected on whether social media is changing awards shows, or are award shows changing social media? Together, are they mutually changing each other?

In an article by Forbes, it’s argued that awards show viewership’s are being directly influenced by social media. The article says that there has been a general rise in award show viewers after 2008, which is when social media went more mainstream than ever before.

“In 2008 the telecast of the Academy Awards averaged only 32 million viewers, the least watched telecast in the shows history. The 2008 Grammy Awards show averaged 17.2 million viewers the second lowest in the past thirty years. The 2008 Emmy Awards averaged 12.3 million viewers, the lowest since 1990 and a drop in viewers of 33% since 2005. The audience for 2009 Golden Globes of 14.9 million viewers was the lowest since it moved back to broadcast television in 1996. Awards shows appeared to be in trouble. In this era of fragmentation the genre’s future did not look promising,”

In addition to a rise in viewership, I’ve seen a general trend of “shocking” segments (aka Miley Cyrus, MTV Awards Show; Janet Jackson/JT Wardrobe Malfunction), and generally more theatrical performances. Lastly, I’ve seen shows re-using hosts seemingly to forge a connection and not take a risk with ratings. The shows seem to be made to incite a conversation (whether good or bad) and to generally rivet audiences enough to comment online. The Forbes article argues that “With the emergence of social media, popularity of live events (with viewers and advertisers) and well liked hosts, these awards shows (which can still drag on) reported a significant ratings turnaround in 2013-14.”

Personally, I used to rarely watch award shows. But with the advent of social media, I’d feel out of the loop if I miss one. Now, I always make an effort to watch them, and otherwise, I read recap articles in order to hold my own in a conversation. I argue that social media incites more people to watch these awards shows in order to engage with others either online or in person.

Do shocking performances incite viewership?

Does the Grammy’s reputation for shocking performances incite viewership?

Do you honestly care about award shows? Or do you just watch in order to make small talk at the water cooler?

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One Response to How is Social Media Changing Award Shows?

  1. sydhavely says:

    Great post, Danielle. Seems also that the award shows are leaving out more of the “awards” part and pumping up the performances, which is helping ratings also.

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