Are We Seeing the End of the TV Awards Era?

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We may be reaching the end of the live TV event era.

Viewership was down at the VMAs 34% this year, experiencing a drop of 3.3 million viewers from 9.8 million viewers in 2015. NBC’s Olympics, saw a viewership decrease for the first time since 2000. NBC’s Olympics primetime broadcast was down 15% from 2012. Among 18- to 49-year-olds, there was a 25% drop-off most of the games, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

The Emmys are coming up; if this trend follows, they will probably see a significant drop in viewers for this event also.

I believe these drops are occurring for an obvious reason: the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. With so many movies and TV shows at our fingertips, why would we try to schedule time to watch these events? Especially when that awesome documentary about animals in Africa is chilling in our suggested movies?

"The Olympics are when? Screw that, I'm gonna stream Stranger Things."

“I have to wait for the Emmys? Screw that, I’m gonna stream Stranger Things.”

Streaming services cater to our personal interests, which is something network events do not do. Unless you are a die-hard synchronized swimming fan, just want to perv on the beach volleyball girls or watch celebrities circle jerk and congratulate each other while passing out trophies, you’ll probably opt for that new show everyone is talking about on Netflix. We want to watch what we want when we want to (almost) completely commercial free.

This brings me to my next point.

Commercials suck. A lot of people couldn’t care less about what kind of paper towel is most absorbant. We aren’t into network television anymore because we have seen the light. We can live without all the advertisements desperately trying to be quirky and funny in their attempts to get us to buy one soap over another while interrupting the flow of what we are watching.

Companies have turned to online ads on Facebook and Youtube to advertise their goods because there just are not very many young people are watching regular network television no matter what event is on.

Some young celebs even skipped the VMAs à la Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez. Huge names that many younger people are into even said no thanks to the event.

Taylor may have been avoiding Kanye West, but that is neither here nor there. Honestly I just think the ladies, as well as other famous humans that didn’t attend, didn’t think all of the pomp and circumstance and drama was worth the effort. Whatever the case may be, they didn’t lose fans; none of them were watching.

These two were conspicuously absent from the VMAs. Will we see similar flouting at the Emmys?

These two were conspicuously absent from the VMAs. Will we see similar flouting at the Emmys?

Have we reached the end of an era? Will televised events soon be a thing of the past? If viewership keeps decreasing at the rate it is, they probably will keep holding the events, but the networks will have to improve their online streaming—it is extremely glitchy—to pull in a younger market and hang onto them. Online marketing for events will also need to increase so that the “young eyes” can scroll past them and consider watching these events.

The Emmys air September 18th on ABC.

Marnie Slater is a freelance writer for Weekend Collective and performs stand up comedy in Kansas City. Follow her @marnieslaterkc for upcoming gigs and a whole lot of shenanigans.

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