Live 8: The Numbers Are In  

rockwriter58 56M
1524 posts
7/7/2005 2:34 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Live 8: The Numbers Are In

Part I

Time to parse the viewing numbers for this past weekend’s music event, the series of Live 8 concerts. Ratings are always open to interpretation, but Live 8 shows a demographic shift away from traditional media. That’s a trend that moved into a true watershed period just within the past two years.

AOL estimates that about five million people viewed its webcast. MTV drew 1.5 million. VH1 logged about 800,000 viewers. (MTV and VH1 are sister cable channels in the Viacom empire.) A two-hour recap of the concerts broadcast by the ABC network (a Disney subsidiary) drew just a bit less than three million viewers and was the third lowest rated program on over-the-air television in the U.S. last week.

What does this tell us?

First, it confirms that the younger, hipper set, who are attracted to pop music have firmly migrated to their computers for such events.

Next, highly specialized events don’t seem to be doing well on over-the-air television. Cable’s ratings dominance in coverage of the U.S. political conventions showed that last year, with over-the-air television losing out to cable coverage for the first time in history. Although ABC’s coverage of Live 8 still had more total numbers than the Viacom channels, viewers certainly couldn’t see wall-to-wall coverage on Disney’s network. And obviously, the non-traditional media source ‒ the internet ‒ had almost as many viewers as all the television networks combined.

Over-the-air television seems confined to broadcasting schlock music programs such as Fox’s American Idol or ABC’s summer hit Dancing with the Stars to get its ratings. Those programs have demographic appeal from pre-teens to retirees.

Those programs routinely reach twice as many viewers as those that tuned into all the Live 8 programming on the web and television combined.

(The remainder of this post will continue inside.)

(This entry NEVER appeared on the main blogboard due to an evening blogjam on July 7, but this author chose not to repost.)


rockwriter58 56M
1389 posts
8/15/2005 12:24 pm

Part II

And now some commentary about that Live 8 coverage.

MTV’s coverage was poor. Mindless VJs chattered while great bands were pl.aying in the background. (Good commentary is always appreciated but MTV has rarely if ever demonstrated the ability to cablecast informative music commentary.) MTV routinely cut-away from songs in midstream for commercials, (and there were far too many commercial spots for a concert series meant to raise awareness of world poverty) self-promotion, or empty chatter. The ratings reflect that the audience was not happy with the coverage either. Those are modest daily ratings for cable and surely must be a disappointment for a cultural event such as Live 8. MTV’s coverage was far from special and could have included a round-robin of live concert sites and a special with highlights afterward. Instead, MTV chose not to compete with ABC’s special.

The special broadcast by the Mouse House (ABC) was slickly pre-packaged and focused on the music, but it rarely gave performers more than one tune before cutting to the next act.

What the world needs besides poverty relief is a better place to see and experience music.

(Sorry, no sex here, but definitely a little rock ‘n roll.)

(This entry was inspired by the comments in the blogs of blacktyger and [blog Gypsy_Fox] about Live 8. In one, I wrote: “MTV must die!” Sorry for interrupting the flow of our series on sexy pictures with interesting profiles but I’m still steamed about the poor coverage.)


NickRules999 39M
9464 posts
9/25/2005 6:38 pm

I couldn't agree more. MTV is nothing more than a shadow of it's former self. And VH1 isn't much better, though I, once in a while, watch Metal Mania on VH1 Classic for a dose of nostalgia. Course, Viacom, since it owns both networks, could be to blame, as well. When politics mix with art, politics win, and the art suffers.

The Live 8 concert you were talking about is standard MTV flair. The VJs sit up in an elevated booth, sometimes talking on thir own, sometimes interviewing a singer, while a band plays onstage in the background. Standard MTV shit. The band is playing live, but the VJ is like, "Hey, look at me. I'm on MTV. Everyone wants to fuck me. Yeah, we got a band playing down there, but hey, look at me." MTV is no longer about the music, as I've mentioned before. It's nothing more than masturbation material for kids who aren't old enough to rent porn yet. And the funny thing is, I used to be one of those youths. No shame in admitting to that.

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