Bet on Streaming Path, Amazon Live Music Award

Stable income from investments in live sports streaming, prompting Amazon to bet on streaming music awards shows live.

Amazon will exclusively air awards Academy of Country Music Awards the 57th annual event from Las Vegas on Amazon Prime Video Monday night (7/3) in a concert-like format, without ads.

However, considering that most award-giving events have struggled to gain viewership due to the continued decline in ratings from year to year, the question is whether viewers will switch from conventional broadcasts on television to streaming channels?

Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told the Associated Press that other live music events they host — including the Ye & Drake charity event in September — show increased interest in streaming content. “You can see that this is an area where we are investing, and we think it will help build exciting live opportunities for customers to share greater cultural moments with the content they love,” he said.

Several US tech companies are betting on the streaming path, including Amazon.

Several US tech companies are betting on the streaming path, including Amazon.

The Academy of Country Music’s reputation for being fun, inviting and inclusive has led streaming service Amazon to seek to connect the show with country music fans who listen to Amazon Music. For listeners who want a more music-focused experience, Prime Video will offer shows that are edited by showing only the shows.

“We feel pretty confident with the large country music audience base, that we will be able to get as many people as possible to watch this show and enjoy it via streaming,” added Salke.

Broadcast content type is an important factor for live streaming

Client Manager at Kantar Entertainment on Demand, Hannah Avery, says live streaming of NFL matches on Amazon has attracted more

many subscribers to the streaming platform. “Only the NFL added 4% of new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2021,” said Avery.

But the type or type of live broadcast content is an important factor. Paramount+ already held the streaming rights for the 2021 Grammy Awards, but that was not the factor driving new subscribers to the service, he added.

Amazon will start streaming NFL matches (photo: illustration).

Amazon will start streaming NFL matches (photo: illustration).

Measuring the success of a streaming-only award show will be based on how many people watched and how many new subscribers would join to watch this particular event. But Avery notes that another key metric is the long-term profit for Prime Video. “If someone joins in to watch something very specific, how do we keep them going after the show ends and not cancel their membership?” said Avery. He added that regardless of how well the Academy of Country Music performs on Amazon, he expects there will be growth for live event streaming content.

Amazon Challenges Introducing Events That Keep Viewers From Switching Channels

Academy of Country Music producer RA Clark said Amazon challenged him to rethink the format of the awards show significantly. This year’s show, which will take place at the Allegiant Stadium, will look like a sporting event with three stages, spider cameras overhead, non-stop action and amazing graphics.

Academy of Country Music events will be divided into segments, and not spread out between songs or musicians’ performances. The duration of one part of the show is 35 minutes, without interruption.

“This has allowed us to break all the ruts we’ve had and reorganize this Academy of Country Music event,” Clark said.

All content on Prime Video will be commercial-free and will include a red carpet pre-show version that can be purchased with items curated by Amazon Fashion.

“In the Amazon world, we now have customers. It’s no longer just someone who sees things passively,” adds Clark.

For musicians like Jimmie Allen, who will host the show alongside Gabby Barrett and Dolly Parton, live streaming is the future of country music.

“Of course this is new, especially for country music,” said Allen, who will appear twice at the Academy of Country Music Awards later. “Just as country music is constantly looking to advance and expand, we also have fans who listen to pop and hip hop, and they are used to listening to it live, without waiting.”

Allen is looking forward to the two-hour show later Monday night, even though it means there’s almost no room for error.

“This year’s Academy of Country Music is like a bet: in and out and fast,” he joked.

This new streaming format means less distraction for fans at home, he added. “The biggest thing I want to do with this show is to hold attention and not give them the opportunity to switch channels or channels,” he asserted, because “if they switch channels, they will lose something from the show.” [em/lt]