TNS Media Intelligence, in a new study focusing on awards shows, says that timing may be a factor. NBC is moving the TV awards show from September to August due to a conflict with is new "Sunday Night Football" package. The weaker summertime August period could signal a ratings spiral.
There are other concerns, too. Given the new voting system for the Emmys, many big-name performers were not nominated, such as the actors on ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," and HBO's "The Sopranos"--talent that was nominated a year ago.
The 2004 "The Emmy Awards" pulled in a 9.5 rating on ABC--its third-lowest ratings ever, the lowest since 1990, and the lowest among the big four awards shows in 2004. The Oscars grabbed a 26.0, the Golden Globes took in a 17.0, and the Grammys brought in a 15.7.
The Emmys recovered in 2005 to a 12.5 rating on CBS--narrowly beating the Grammys and the Golden Globes, which witnessed ratings declines versus 2004.
But of all the awards shows, the Emmys have had decreasing appeal for advertisers. Against the other awards shows, the Emmys have the highest concentration of women viewers--66 percent--and the highest overall median age of 52. This isn't especially seductive to advertisers, as other TV shows reach this demo.
All this means less reason for advertisers to renew each year. Emmy advertisers renew 50 percent of the time--the lowest of the big four awards shows: The Academy Awards is at 72 percent, the Golden Globes 79 percent and the Grammy Awards 71 percent.
The TNS study says another explanation is that the Emmys are broadcast on a different network every year. The other three awards shows have long-standing contracts with their respective networks. This makes it difficult for advertisers to strike long-term deals.
The Emmys also run the lowest percentage of new creative from advertisers, versus the other big awards shows. Last year, 12.3 percent or seven of the Emmy Awards' 57 spots was for new advertising.
General Motors and Procter & Gamble are the major recurring advertisers in the Emmys. Last year, TNS estimates that GM bought the equivalent of nine 30-second commercials, spending a total of $4.8 million; P&G plunked down $3.4 million for seven spots. Another big advertiser was Sprint-Nextel, with three spots at $1.6 million.
TNS says the average price per 30-second spot was $528,000 last year. The price has hovered around the $500,000 price tag for the last several years. The Emmy household CPM last year fell substantially to $32.66. In 2002, the Emmy HH CPM was $39.41; in 2003, it was $41.82; and 2004, it slipped to $38.45.
The Emmys are not the only awards show that is feeling the pinch. The number of awards shows has grown to nearly 50. With expansion comes audience fragmentation, says TNS, and, ratings erosion for all the four top awards shows.