Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is a realist, and knows that even after last year’s Grammy ratings bonanza, there will still be major challenges facing his organization, which may be overcome by the increased focus on the digital world of music.
CBS’s 2010 Kudocast garnered a huge thirty-five percent gain in viewership. Portnow attributes the lift, which saw the biggest Grammy’s audience in years, to a number of factors, the appearance of Taylor Swift and other young stars, increased tune-ins as a result of recession belt-tightening and some harsh winter weather, but he puts the show’s salute to Michael at the top of the list.
“I think that particularly his fans all over the world wanted to see what a Grammy tribute to Michael Jackson was going to look like,” Portnow says. “It’s possible that some of those folks would not be our audience on a regular basis.”
As a result of last year’s ratings boom, CBS agreed to a short-term extension of the academy’s contract with the network; Portnow adds,
“We’ll be back talking about a longer-term extension after this year’s telecast.”
Portnow says some of the Grammys’ recent boost can be laid to the Recording Academy’s increased presence on the Web and social networking sites, so Mr. Portnow prefers to accentuate the positivity he feels with the changes the Academy is making.
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