The 59th Annual Grammy Awards: Strong Social Media Presence Coupled with Minor Growth in the Traditional Ratings

Published on Feb 14th, 2017

Yes, there is something that can actually beat The Walking Dead on AMC.

Music’s biggest night, The 59th Annual Grammy Awards, airing on CBS and featuring five wins for Adele (including the top categories of Album, Record and Song of the Year ), swept the night of Sunday, Feb. 12th, as expected, in the traditional Nielsen ratings. Moments like Beyoncé’s epic nine-minute performance, Adele flubbing her initial tribute to George Michael, and Bruno Mars honoring Prince, certainly ignited mass interest among the social media platforms (as did the politically-themed commentary).

In an analysis of social actions for the Grammys by Shareablee across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (from Feb. 12 and the first half of Feb. 13), the Awards Ceremony Sponsors, Presenters, and Performers drove nearly 50 million total actions. Instagram was considerably more prominent than the three other platforms driving more than half of all activity. Based on the hashtag #grammys, a post by Demi Lovato, who performed during the Bee Gees tribute, resulted in 891,242 total actions on Instagram. The top 10 (ranked by total actions) on Instagram, including activity by Ed Sheeran, Nick Jonas, Chrissy Teigen, Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus and Halsey, actually had more social actions than anything ranked in the top 10 on Twitter, and Facebook combined.

Leading Facebook at 287,888 total actions was the reaction to singer Joy Villa’s dress via Fox News using President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great. Ranking No. 1 on Twitter at 108,389 total actions was a message from Ellen DeGeneres to Adele.

Demi Lovato also had the most number of total actions taken on the five individual posts she made (at 2,359,410) across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Per post, the volume of actions taken for Lovato was an average 471,882. Second in total actions across the four benchmarks was Ed Sheeran, a nominee and performer on Sunday’s telecast, with his six posts at a total of 1,594,655 actions (an average of 265,776 per post). Katy Perry, with six posts, just edged out Demi Lovato for the most shares at 32,633 versus 32,398 for Lovato.

Other performers in the top 10 ranking of total actions were Alicia Keys, Metallica, Chance the Rapper, Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, John Legend and Pentatonix.

Among the presenters, Nick Jonas, with 16 posts, had the most actions with 2,420,555. But a somber-looking Jennifer Lopez, who proclaimed that “at this particular point in history our voices are needed more than ever,” had the most actions per post (445,554) based on five individual posts (amassing 179,299 video actions). As one of many politically-themed comments throughout the telecast, host James Corden included this line in his opening "rap": "President Trump we don't know what comes next. We can survive by sticking together."


Among official Grammys sponsors, had the most number of actions, by a wide margin, with 332  resulting in 660,673 in total actions (and 1,990 on average), about 90% of the total actions by the Awards's sponsors. But JBL, with just four posts, had the most actions per post with an average 5,257. The rest of the of the Sponsors share of actions are as follows:

With regards to the Nielsen Ratings, the 59 th annual telecast, hosted by James Corden, scored an average audience of 26.05 million viewers from 8-11:45 p.m. ET, based on the Nielsen time zone-adjusted fast affiliate ratings. Comparably, this was 1.1 million viewers (or four percent) above the annual telecast on CBS one year earlier (24.95 million on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, which was a seven-year low). Sunday’s Grammys telecast now ranks fifth in total traditional viewership over the last 10 years (which, of note, faced the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC).

Back in 2012, the unexpected passing of Whitney Houston just one day prior to the Grammy resulted in a mammoth 39.91 million viewers. To date, 2012 remains the second highest rated historically behind only the 1984 Grammys, which housed a record 43.8 million viewers.

Demographically, results among key adults 18-49 for Sunday’s telecast was a 7.8 rating, which was a slight bump from last year, while a 6.6 rating in adults 18-34 was a rise of three percent. Results in adults 25-54 was flat at a 9.0 rating.

Keep in mind that these analytics may be adjusted once the Live + Same Day data from Nielsen comes in on Tuesday. Early results for any live event are always estimated.

For comparative purposes, here is the most recent 10-year track of The Grammys on CBS beginning in 2008 (and including total viewers and adults 18-49 rating and share):

Viewers (Millions) Adult 18-49 Ratings
Sunday 2/12/17 26.05 7.8
Monday 2/15/16 24.95 7.7
Sunday 2/08/15 25.30 8.5
Sunday 1/26/14 28.51 9.9
Sunday 2/10/13 28.37 10.1
Sunday 2/12/12 39.91 14.1
Sunday 2/13/11 26.67 10.0
Sunday 1/31/10 25.87 9.9
Sunday 2/08/09 19.05 7.4

CBS, needless to say, has scored a solid victory for the week of February 6, which will only ignite its season to-date average. In today’s environment where every viewer counts, the value of big-name awards shows like the Grammys and the upcoming 89 th Annual Academy Awards, which airs on ABC on February 26, is immeasurable.
The bottom-line : For a network like CBS, which traditionally skews older, the value of all this surging social media interest only magnifies the importance of also targeting programs catered to a younger audience. With the traditional Nielsen ratings no longer the sole determining factor, an annual telecast like The 59th Annual Grammy Awards fully demonstrates why the importance -- and value -- of social media will only increase.

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