Viewership at a glance: Takeaways from the 2021 Emmy Awards
Content Marketing Manager
Sep 30, 2021
With a 42% jump in the fraction of households reached compared to last year, a historic number of nominations for actors of color, and a return to in-person attendance, the Emmy Awards had viewers’ attention.
But *how* did America watch? We analyzed the data to bring you a full report on Emmys viewership. From a minute-by-minute look at the broadcast, to who binged the nominated series before and after the big show, to which brands saw the most exposure during the lengthy commercial breaks, and much more. You can download our full 2021 Emmys Insights Report now, or read on for some of our top takeaways before diving in.
Viewership started strong but dropped dramatically in the first hour.
Viewership started strong with plenty of viewers likely asking the same question as Seth Rogen about the number of maskless celebs shoulder to shoulder in an enclosed tent: “What are we doing here?” By the end of the first hour, viewership fell dramatically, although still stronger than the 2020 show for the majority of the broadcast. The exception? 2020 viewership was very slightly higher during the final moments of the show.
The biggest Emmy fans were on the West Coast.
Given that the show takes place in Los Angeles, this isn’t too surprising. What is surprising is that the state that over-indexed the most was Hawaii (by +95%) – and The White Lotus won’t even be eligible until next year! Washington state and California also over-indexed on viewership, albeit by less (70% and 37% respectively).
The states tuning in at a much lower rate compared to the country overall? While based on previous analysis of pandemic viewing behaviors (see our most recent State of Viewership Report), we’ve often seen higher viewership while the pandemic kept more people at home, this wasn’t the case for the Emmys. Wyoming and Alaska, two states unfortunately seeing some of the biggest spikes in COVID cases, both under-indexed (by -64% and -52% respectively) for 2021 Emmys viewership.
Viewership demographics echo #EmmysSoWhite trend.
While the Emmys saw the most racially diverse line-up in the show’s history with actors of color making up close to half of the nominations, all 12 acting awards ultimately went to white actors. With #EmmysSoWhite trending, it’s surprising to no one that viewership skewed towards households with white viewers (+64%). Households with Black viewers made up just 11% of overall viewership. However with a rising number of Black nominees, Cedric the Entertainer taking on hosting duties, a historic win by Michaela Coel, and the Governor’s Award going to entertainment icon Debbie Allen, this number has increased from last year’s awards where households with Black viewers made up just 9% of overall viewership.
Ted Lasso is a fan favorite – before, during, and after the awards.
Did you brush up on your nominees by binge-watching before the broadcast? If so, you weren’t alone. And if you binged Ted Lasso, you’re in good company. While The Crown (Netflix) and The Mandalorian (Disney+) were tied for most nominations with 24 a piece, it was Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) that people were watching and rewatching ahead of the awards. In fact, 90k US households watched both the premiere and finale of the nominated season one during the three weeks leading up to the big event, and 41k US households watched during the following week.
And, while just 11k US households watched the premiere and finale of Hacks in the three weeks leading up to the show, the Emmys buzz may have made an impact, as nearly double that (20k) watched those same episodes during the week after the Emmys wrapped.
Pharmaceuticals make up a large portion of Emmys ads.
If you watched during the 8pm ET airing, you may be questioning if you should ask your doctor if *enter prescription medication here* is right for you. While the biggest advertiser during the Emmys was the awards’ host network, CBS, with a whopping 11 ads during the three-hour broadcast, there was also not one, but six pharmaceutical brands in the top 15 by ad duration. This makes sense when you think about the demographics tuning in. Households with viewers aged 55 years or older made up 42% of the overall audience and were the only age group to over-index.
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