The numbers are in. Beyonce and the CMA Awards pulled in 12.75 Million viewers this past Wednesday night. This number is down from previous years, but not so much because of the lash-back from the ultra-conservative Country Music fan base boycotting Beyonce. That may have had a slight impact, but probably very little. The CMA’s aired the exact same night as the World Series Championship Game.
Game 7 of the World Series was the most watched sporting event this year since Superbowl 50 bringing in over 39 million viewers. The World Series hasn’t seen these numbers since 1991 (Ya know, back when TV was the ONLY media entertainment you could enjoy on a Wednesday night). The fact that the CMA’s did such great numbers and held its own on a huge sporting night speaks to how massive a media titan Beyonce actually is.
Let’s do some simple reasoning to get to the bottom of this. I’d bet money that the majority of baseball fans are white people. I’d also bet more money that the overwhelming majority of Country music fans are white. Country Music and Baseball have an extremely large overlap in their target audiences. Both programs aired at the same time, so it’s safe to assume that a huge chunk of the core CMA viewership was busy watching a once in a lifetime sporting event. With all the pieces in motion, who do you think possibly made up the core of the people watching the CMA’s? That’s right- you guessed it- Beyonce fans.
I’d bet money that the CMA’s knew that they’s lose a major chunk of viewership if there was a game 7, and they had to throw a major player in the mix who had the ability to shift the core audience of viewership of their programming in order to maintain ratings. In the end, never forget it’s just numbers and business.
Superbowl 50 (where Beyonce performed half time) is the most watched program in TV History. It broke the record that was previously held by Superbowl XLVII in 2013, where… Beyonce performed during half time.
I think you catch my drift. Where ever Bey goes, the eyes follow, and the CMA’s knew that.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this performance was an effort to bring diversity to the CMA stage. It was less about bridging the gaps in music and opening the doors for other people, and more about money.
Next year, when the core country music fan base returns to the CMA’s (because there is no huge baseball game to offset their numbers), they’ll likely be back on an upward trajectory in their data trends and can justify, in the data, that if Beyonce didn’t increase numbers, then the diverse direction is not the best look for CMA business.
I’ve had the privilege of working in the public relations and advertising spheres long enough to see these strategic plans for what they are. The plan is created to justify an intended outcome, not the other way around. I can clock them a mile a way. It’s a dirty game, but someone has to play it.