An Overview of The Show
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards was held on Sunday, January 28th 2018 at Madison Square Garden by the CBS network–the first time since 2003 that the Grammys were not held in Los Angeles. The Grammys aired at 7:30 EST, hosted by late night television host James Corden for the second year in a row.
Kendrick Lamar opened with a compelling performance with the American flag and men in fatigues and ski masks as backup dancers. U2 and comedian Dave Chapelle joined in, with Chapelle saying the most quoteable line of the night–“The only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America. Sorry for the interruption.”
Ke$ha supported the #MeToo movement clad in all white during a performance alongside Cyndi Lauper, Bebe Rexha, Andra Day, and others. Janelle Monae made a direct tribute in her speech to the Time’s Up movement.
Politics were highly addressed at the 60th annual awards. Hillary Clinton appeared in a video reading an excerpt from “Fire and Fury”. Camila Cabello made a timely tribute to Dreamers in the midst of Trump’s reform DACA.
Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna accepted the first Grammy of the broadcast for “Loyalty” as best rap/sung performance.
Ed Sheeran won Best Solo Performance for his song “Shape of You”. Following speeches by Kesha and Janelle Monae, Sheeran was met with boo’s despite his generally agreeable demeanor and presence in the music industry.
Bruno Mars dominated the award show, accepting the Grammy Award for album of the year (24K Magic), song of the year (That’s What I like) and record of the year (24K Magic).
The Grammys have a key demographic of A18-49 and reached 19.81 million viewers with a 5.9 rating on January 28th, down a full 24% from 2017’s February viewership number. This was the lowest viewership a ceremony CBS has received since 2009. Even so, the 2018 Grammys were the most watched primetime entertainment show since the 2017 Oscars. (Deadline)
Metered market ratings were 12.7/21, worse than early returns suggested. It fell 20% from the early returns for the 59th annual Grammys, which had 26 million viewers and a 7.8 rating among the same demo A18-49.
The unique viewers on the livestream of the Grammys was up 40% over last year’s telecast, however. The Sunday had the second-highest sign-up day for CBS All Access. The big boost stemmed from the streaming service offering a live stream of the event on its service. This is especially helpful to the millennial and/or cord-cutting population who do not have cable and focus on SVODs. Unique viewers and subscriber sign-ups reached record numbers for the CBS service. This could also be due to the airdate for a highly anticipated episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” that is only streamed on All Access.
Nielsen reported that the 60th Grammys was the most social TV event this year. If we look at the mobile app store, the CBS app rank in free apps was at #325, according to Sensor Tower. After the awards show, the app’s rank jumped up to #89 among free iPhone apps in the US, just 5 below the very popular dating app, Tinder. (Tech Crunch)
The Twittersphere reacted to much of the poltiical aspects to had negative reactions to the delay of the delay of the red carpet precursor to the awards ceremony, due to delays in programming.
Programming and Competitive
CBS had aired the 2018 Farmer’s Insurance Open on Sunday night. The golf tournament ran into the Grammys’ red carpet’s scheduled time, which yielded backlash on Twitter and social media. (Business Insider)
CBS assured users that the Grammys would still air at 7:30p.m., but many on Twitter in their key demographic were unable to view a much red carpet celebrity fashion. The Farmer’s Insurance Open already had a delayed airtime as the Michigan State and University of Maryland basketball game went into overtime. Although overtime in sports can be often unpredictable, we can only fault the program planning team at network for the adverse effects on the highly anticipated red carpet fashion show.
As for competitive, there was not much up against the 7:30pm CBS special. Premieres included Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo, Sister Wives on TLC, and Beachfront Bargain Hunt on HGTV. None of these shows even compare to the gravity of the Grammys.
Advertising and Sponsorship
Procter & Gamble aired an “oddball and bizarre” ad for the Old Spice deodorant and its target consumers, male A18-34. The ad agency Wieden + Kennedy produced the campaign that features a suave gentleman talking to women about “the man your man could smell like.”
The ad was broadcast entirely in French, with a woman crying of a loss of someone relating to Old Spice. The company’s marketing director sought to generate buzz for this huge media opportunity. According to a media buyer, CBS sought roughly $1 million for a 30-second spot during the Grammys. For that money, the ad really needs to make impressions. (Variety)
While the Grammys hit a huge viewership decline, its advertising revenue remains strong. CBS made $81.1 million in national TV revenue. Last year they earned $81.4 million,
Big advertisers include Target ($7.8 million), Lincoln Mercury ($5.8 million), Google Phones ($3.9 million), Uber ($3.9 million) and Warner Bros ($3.5 million).