This year, the ACM Awards took the first giant step towards awards shows streaming exclusively on platforms like Amazon Prime. And now, some experts wonder if other ceremonies will follow suit.
At a Glance
- Broadcasted awards shows have dipped in viewership over the years
- Streaming the ACM Awards allows for different oppurtunities for viewers
- This could be a test run for other major awards like the Oscars or GRAMMYs
Broadcasted vs. Streamed Awards Shows
In the past, the ACM Awards aired on cable channels like CBS. But according to Vulture, while viewership numbers remained high in 2019 at 10 million, they dropped to 6 million the next year. That’s a devastating blow for both the ACMs’ showrunners and for the network. So this year, the ACM showrunners decided to take the ceremony in a different direction.
They teamed up with Amazon Prime to live stream the event. And unlike other ceremonies (think Oscars, Emmys, GRAMMYS), there were no commercial breaks. No long segues between performances and awards presentations. Regular people also piled into Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to give the entire night a live concert vibe. This, Amazon executives say, could be the future of awards shows.
“Now that we have the technology to be able to pull these off, it’s pretty exciting to be able to lean into these big cultural moments around content,” Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told Vulture. “So whether it be country music [or] the Kanye-Drake concert, we’re walking the audience into this expectation that we’ll deliver entertaining, live, exclusive content on Prime Video.”
And of course, Amazon clearly hoped to lure in people who follow the ACM Awards. They want new subscribers, and especially ones who will stick around. And if Amazon continues to host awards shows like the ACMS, then that might just happen.
Here’s How Amazon Live Streaming the ACM Awards Differed From Normal Awards Shows
Now, for the record, a solid number of country fans simply were not interested in signing up for any kind of subscription or even a free trial with Amazon Prime. However, the streaming service did do its best to entice ACM Awards fans with major changes to the night’s programming.
For one thing: No commercials. The entire event ran in two hours with only a two-minute ad for Amazon Prime Originals shows and movies. Part of the reason that they could run through the ceremony so fast was because they changed the venue too.
Instead of taking place in a smaller arena or theater, the ACMS were hosted in Allegiant Stadium, which holds 70,000 people. That means the showrunners could set up around four mini-stages for different performers or presenters. While most awards shows take time during commercials to take down sets and put up new ones, the ACMs could just transition to another part of the stadium while the crew worked on the previous stage.
And of course, the live audience made it feel much less “stuffy” than a typical awards show. “We think of this as a concert first and foremost and secondarily as a television show,” MRC President Adam Stotsky said. MRC produces the AMCs. “We don’t have to have outros into the commercial breaks. We can go from act to act to act, or award to award to award … We don’t need to service anything other than the consumer.”
Did you watch the AMCs last night on Amazon Prime? Tell us your thoughts, country fans.