CBS All Access Falls Flat During 58th Grammy Awards

Once again, America tuned in to watch the biggest faces in music come together for the 58th Grammy Awards. This year marked the first time that the Grammy’s were broadcast live across the nation (in previous years the west coast feed was delayed 3 hours). Many award shows, like the Oscars and Emmys, have already moved to a nationwide live broadcast, but the Recording Academy decided that this was the year to follow suit. To be frank, it could have gone smoother.

CBS All Access - the network’s live video streaming network - crashed for many viewers immediately before the show was about to start. This left viewers without cable subscriptions unable to watch the live production. This was also a huge snafu for CBS’s paid online video streaming service. One week before the awards show, CBS offered a free trial of All Access, which is normally $5.99 a month. If the service had not crashed, the platform could have seen a healthy bump in new subscriptions. A CBS Interactive spokesman stated that their location services provider had issues verifying user locations and the problem could have been related to viewers who tried to watch the awards show in markets where the SVOD service is not available.

Preliminary ratings suggest a small decrease in viewership from last year’s broadcast. Per Nielsen metered market data, CBS’s broadcast drew a 16.1 overnight household rating from 8-11:30PM compared to last year’s average of  16.7. The Grammys received a 7.4 rating in adults 18-49, with 23.7M viewers at this time. Last year’s show drew an 8.5, but was not aired live coast to coast. The comparison won’t be valid until CBS releases time zone-adjusted ratings.

CBS made some strides in their digital presence and broadcast distribution, but still have some obstacles to overcome for next year.

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