24.95 million viewers watch the Grammys, a slight decline from last year

Taylor Swift opens the 58th Annual Grammy Awards show at Staples Center.

Taylor Swift opens the 58th Annual Grammy Awards show at Staples Center.

(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

The Grammy Awards averaged 24.95 million viewers on CBS, off slightly from last year’s telecast, according to Nielsen.

The TV audience for the ceremony held at the Staples Center, which featured performances by Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Adele and Kendrick Lamar, was 1.5% below the 25.3 million viewers who watched in 2015. The number is within range of recent Grammy telecasts, with the exception of 2012, when the show was watched by 39.9 million viewers the day after singer Whitney Houston died.

Grammys 2016: Full coverage | Best and worst dressed | Red carpet | Show highlights | Nominees and winners | Top nominees

The Monday ceremony scored a 7.7 rating with viewers aged 18 to 49, the group advertisers covet most, down 9% from last year.


One possible factor for the decline is that more younger viewers were watching a live stream of the telecast online. CBS did not release figures, but the network said its CBS All Access service saw a record day in time spent viewing, unique users and sign-ups for the service.

CBS currently has a major advertising campaign promoting CBS All Access, a subscription service that enables users to watch the network’s programming on Internet-connected devices. Research data show that younger viewers are more likely to use online services to watch video.

The network is likely to look at the streaming data to determine the impact on the conventional TV ratings of the event.

Despite a strong line up of talent, the show received a mixed reception from critics and music fans on social media (especially Gaga’s glitzy, special effects-laden tribute to David Bowie). The high number of slow ballad performances may have held down the frenetic energy that usually flows through the event.


This year’s telecast was the first Grammys ceremony to air live coast-to-coast. CBS affiliates in the Pacific and Mountain time zones had the option to take the live feed, and the network’s owned stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Denver were among those that carried it. In past years, those stations carried it on a tape delay.

Although the live telecast allows West Coast and Mountain time zone viewers to be part of the social media conversation about the performances being seen in the rest of the country, television usage is typically lower in the hours before prime time.

KCBS in Los Angeles ran the live Grammys telecast and repeated it in prime time. The combined audiences came to a 23.5 rating in the market, up 16% over the 20.3 rating for the single tape-delayed telecast last year.

5:00 p.m. This report was updated with the rating for the Los Angeles TV market.


Follow @SteveBattaglio on Twitter.


What might Oscar learn from Grammy?

Grammys’ David Bowie love fest: Better late than never?


Review: The Grammys’ energy shortage: Kendrick was fierce but what happened to Bieber, the Weeknd and Adele?