CBS All Access provides highlights that traditional delivery struggles to reach

CBS All Access

First, the bad news: CBS’s live broadcast of the Grammy Awards Sunday saw an all-time audience low. And the good: The Eye Network’s CBS All Access streaming service had its best month ever for signups in January.

But even the Grammy Awards 12-year low – it drew 18.7 million viewers on live TV – had a silver lining… it was “the most streamed Grammys” on CBS All Access to date, CBS said.

And, in an era when other award shows have seen huge declines in audience on live TV (last year’s Emmy Awards lost one-third of its previous year’s viewers) the 5% the Grammys slipped this week was almost refreshing, even though it was the smallest live audience for the show since 2008.

Grammy broadcast helps promo CBS All Access, Picard

The broadcast did, said CBS, help fill the CBS All Access signup pipeline. Plenty of promos for the service’s newest program, Star Trek: Picard, were aired Sunday and viewers responded.

The question, of course, is: Will the erosion of the network’s core audience continue?

No doubt. And CBS is doing a great job positioning itself to make hay with the transition to all streaming, all the time. CBS All Access, one of the earliest broadcasters to do a full dive into streaming, has seen, along with its sibling, Showtime, seen subscriptions climb to more than 10 million.

“We’ve seen tremendous continued growth in the service, and the new records we’ve experienced due to Star Trek: Picard, the Grammy’s and a fantastic season of football are a phenomenal way to kick off what will be a fantastic year for CBS All Access,” said Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer, ViacomCBS, and president and CEO, CBS Interactive. “CBS All Access continues to build upon its great mix of programming — from original series, to sports and special events — and we’ve strategically programmed 2020 to bring subscribers an ‘always on’ calendar of must-watch series and events.”

The bottom line

Content remains king… but only if it’s being delivered to the right audience. While over-the-air and traditional pay-TV distribution used to guarantee an engaged audience, viewers today are more prone to look to streaming as a more desirable alternative… and that’s only going to accelerate.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn