Amazon Prime Video continues its expansion into live programming. After taking exclusive rights to NFL’s Thursday Night Football in a precedent-setting digital deal, the streamer has made a deal for the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards. The 2022 telecast, produced by MRC’s dick clark productions, marks the first time a major awards show live-streamed exclusively on an SVOD platform. (The Daytime Emmys have been only available online a couple of times.)
Launched in 1966, the Academy of Country Music Awards has aired exclusively on broadcast — on ABC (1972-78), NBC (1979-97) and, most recently on CBS (1998-2021).
The three-hour 2021 telecast, hosted by Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton, drew a 0.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 6.1 million (Live+Same Day) in April, marking the lowest-rated and least watched ACM Awards to date but still topping all of broadcast in the demo and drew larger audience than its network competitors combined.
According to sources, CBS opted not to renew its deal for the ACM Awards as the network is focusing on growing the company-owned CMT Music Awards following the ViacomCBS merger. Last month, the network announced that the 2022 CMT Music Awards will air on CBS in April, the same month ACM Awards has traditionally taken place. Date and location for the 2022 ACM Awards will be unveiled at a later time.
“We’re excited to continue to expand our content offerings for Prime Video customers by being the exclusive home for the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2022 and honoring the best in country music,” said Vernon Sanders, co-head of television, Amazon Studios. “Reaching this milestone with our partners at the Academy of Country Music and MRC as the first major awards show to be live-streamed speaks to our dedication and commitment to continue to both entertain and innovate for our audience.”
While there have been awards shows on ad-supported cable networks, including the SAG Awards on TNT & TBS and the Creative Emmys on FXX, awards telecasts have stayed away from subscription-based networks/platforms. (HBO came close with a blockbuster offer for the Primetime Emmy Awards decades ago.)
“We are thrilled that the Academy of Country Music Awards are first to take this giant step toward the future of awards shows with Amazon Prime Video. This partnership, which reinforces our position as an innovative, progressive awards show, will deliver the broadest possible audience and, simultaneously, deliver massive value to our artists whose music lives inside this ecosystem, enabling fans to discover and stream music as they watch,” said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music.
For dick clark productions parent MRC, this represents another first; the company a decade ago took a chance on Netflix with the sale of House Of Cards as the streamer’s first original series.
“We congratulate our partners at the Academy and Amazon for blazing a path for the future of live awards shows,” said MRC co-CEO Modi Wiczyk. “Our team is excited to be part of the creative and entrepreneurial innovations that streaming technology will unleash.”
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