The Golden Globes ratings plummeted more than 60% this year, from the 18.3 million viewers who watched it last year according to Neilsen data via CNN. The Golden Globes has had a long and uneven history in broadcast but with viewership at just 6.9 million for this year’s awards show, the ratings were the lowest since NBC acquired the rights to air the show in the 1990s according to CNN.
The award show earned more viewers than NBC’s broadcast of the Emmys in September last year but that wasn’t hard to accomplish, since those numbers were at a record low as well. Indicators of award show numbers are all pointing toward a steady decline. Dealing with the pandemic many movie theaters have closed and film distribution has migrated to streaming networks. In fact, big Golden Globe winners this year in the movie category like the drama Nomadland and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm both premiered on streaming platforms Hulu and Amazon respectively.
The award shows also adopted moving into the digital space by broadcasting virtually. The Golden Globes featured bicoastal hosts Tina Fey (The Mayor) and Amy Poehler (Parks &Recreation). With virtual broadcasting the famously free wheeling award show loses its spontaneity as there isn’t any room for off the cuff happenings, add on to that the technical glitches and awkward moments.
In addition to low ratings the Los Angeles Times exposed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that presents the annual awards, has no black members. The lack of diversity drew heavy criticism from key Hollywood figures prompting HFPA to address the problem during the broadcast. HFPA derives most of its revenue from the broadcast license fee and donates much of that to charitable endeavors.
The Golden Globes always airs before the Academy Award and is usually a litmus test as to what projects the Oscars will hold in great regard. With this year’s ratings dip it could be foretelling of a major dip in viewership of the upcoming Academy Awards as well. Like the Globes, the Academy Awards were delayed this year. Pushed back by about two months the nominations for the Oscars are due out March 15 and the ceremony to air on April 25.