by Jeremy Rogers

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.

With the 2018 Streamy Awards looming on the October 22 horizon, an important question is about to be answered: How can award shows get out of their current viewership slump?

Graphic by Tt Shinkan

For the past few years, every major televised award show has experienced a decline in viewership. The Academy Awards, the Primetime Emmys, and the Grammys have all experienced steep drop-offs in how many people tune in to watch the award shows.

This isn’t for lack of trying on the part of the different companies that run the different award shows. Back in 2017 when the nominees for the Grammys were announced, many were amazed at the historical show of diversity in the pool of nominees. Byte’s own Ryan fine “It seems like the Grammys have finally taken heed of the #GrammysSoWhite tag and gave several nods to Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s ‘Despacito’, which is the first ever mainly Spanish-language song to be nominated for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year.” Of particular interest was the Album of the Year category, where none of the nominees were white men, a win for diversity.

During the 2018 Primetime Emmys, several portions of the presentation explicitly pointed out how incredibly diverse the cast of nominees. They even had a musical number and everything. Unfortunately, the nominations did not lead to a historic number of people of color earning awards, much to the chagrin of viewers. As Byte’s review editor Tanner Kinney put it in an article, “Even the hosts are making jokes about how white the Emmys are. When you have James Corden even making jokes about it, you’ve achieved something truly terrible. And just so we’re clear, making jokes about it doesn’t make it go away… It’s clear that the Emmys are just acting progressive for brownie points, despite the fact that they are still an Academy run by, and ultimately for, white people.”

The Academy Awards tried to take a different approach to getting viewers to tune into the broadcast. Speaking from several experiences doing research in Hollywood with members of the Academy, Wes Gehring, a Ball State film studies professor who holds a doctorate in film studies, said, “The Academy in the last year or two, they’re trying to increase numbers, and increase diversity. They’re trying to… have more diversity available and to appreciate that.”

But for all of the efforts employed by companies to retain viewers, all have failed. So where can these companies look to find new strategies to engage viewers?

One potential answer is the YouTube’s annual Streamy Awards. In 2016, the online award show reported that they had a total of 586,000 viewers tuning in for the award show. The very next year saw 750,000 people watching 2017’s broadcast. Granted, the Streamys are still relatively new with less than a decade of experience to find an audience. However, the skyrocketing numbers of the program are hard not to notice.

Sources: Byte BSU, Youtube, Deadline, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, TV Line, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, Time, LA Times, Streamys

Graphic: Tt Shinkan

Featured Image: Sam Smith


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