In a tough climate for televised awards shows, the 2021 American Music Awards managed to hold steady with last year’s ratings even as social media around it surged.
Sunday night’s awards show, which was hosted by Cardi B, averaged a 1.0/7 rating among adults 18-49 and around 4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. These numbers held even with last year’s AMAs, which had slid 40% from the year prior in the viewership column and similarly in ratings.
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ABC touted the social interaction around the event, calling the three-hour broadcast the most social telecast of 2021 based on Talkwalker Social Content Ratings, formerly Nielsen Social. Excluding presidential debates, the AMAs primetime broadcast on Sunday, Nov. 21 was the most social telecast in the last three years according to these measurements— including the last three Super Bowls. Per the Talkwalker ratings, there were 46.5 million total interactions on Sunday night posting or chattering about the 2021 American Music Awards across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube — up 39% year-over-year. In addition, there were 24 million view counts generated across those same social platforms (up 68% compared to 2020).
The show’s popularity online may have been bolstered by the AMAs partnership with TikTok, a first-of-its-kind voting partnership that allowed fans to vote in all 32 award categories via the bite-sized video creation app. K-pop band BTS had a standout evening at the awards ceremony, winning three of its most prestigious honors. They took the stage twice to deliver high-energy, buzzy performances.
The show’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” lead-in on ABC scored a 0.5 rating and just over 4 million viewers (nearly identical charts when compared with 2020’s installment). Along with the 2021 AMAs, these two broadcasts flung ABC to the top of Sunday primetime ranks as the No. 1 entertainment network among the target adults ages 18-49 demo (0.9/6), leading Fox by 13% (0.8/5) and CBS by 80% (0.5/3). However, Sunday Night Football on NBC was the reigning champ of primetime, garnering 11.85 million viewers and a rating of 3.0 in Nielsen’s Live+Same Day overnight numbers. It was preceded by Fox’s NFL Overrun, which had 19.28 million viewers tuned in at 7 p.m. with a key demo rating of 4.0.
The 2021 American Music Awards is produced by MRC Live & Alternative and Jesse Collins Entertainment. The show is sponsored by Xfinity.
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