In Broadcast Bow, 2022 CMT Music Awards See Viewership Hit New High
The big winner at this year’s CMT Music Awards may not be an individual artist, but the awards program itself.
Airing for the first time on the air, the 2022 edition of the awards program saw viewership soar to an all-time high, easily surpassing last year’s audience, when the show aired on CMT.
With the wider platform, the show delivered much bigger hits. The CMT Music Awards drew 5.16 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Nights, an incredible 521% increase over last year. This number includes both viewers who watched the show live on CBS as well as those watching on CBS’s digital platforms, including the Paramount Plus streaming channel.
This marked the debut of the awards show broadcast, which was available to a more limited audience when it aired on cable. CMT is available in just over 90 million homes, while the CBS over-the-air network is available in around 30 million more.
CBS drew big numbers for the show among adults 18-49, a key ad demo that is slightly younger than the network’s usual 25-54 target audience. CBS tied ABC for No. 1 Monday Night in 18-49 with a 0.6 rating.
A bigger platform and better marketing
The CMT Music Awards also benefited from marketing to a wider audience. CBS recently held two high-profile events, the Grammy Awards and the Masters, which drew millions of viewers and could each promote the upcoming awards program.
CMT lacks shows with nearly as large an audience to advertise. Of course, last year’s awards were also rather lackluster due to COVID restrictions which forced changes to the format of all live shows since March 2020.
And this year’s awards weren’t without COVID drama. Co-host Kelsea Ballerini had to fire from her home after testing positive for the virus just hours before the show started.
While the increase in viewership is largely attributable to the move to CBS, it’s also worth noting that an awards show would see viewership growth, contrary to recent trends. The Grammys have had record ratings in recent years, as have the Golden Globes and Emmys. (The Oscars also trended downward, and while viewership for this year’s ceremony soared from last year, it was still the second-lowest-watched of all time. )
Programs are certainly not the only ones on the decline – with greater consumer choice among streamers and other online platforms, ratings for everything from sports to dramas to comedies have plummeted in recent years. .
Still, that makes the growth of the CMT Awards all the more commendable.