For the first time in nearly 30 years, more viewers tuned in for this year's Grammy Awards than this past Sunday's Oscar ceremony. The Academy Awards raked in 39.3 million total viewers, a boost of 1.4 million to their usual audience. But it wasn't enough to outshine the Grammy telecast, which drew in 39.9 million viewers earlier this month.
The large Grammy turnout could partially be due to the death of music icon Whitney Houston, which occurred just one night before the honorary music ceremony. The curiosity about how the show's programmers would address the star's death combined with interest in Adele's popularity could have given the ratings a boost.
This is only the second time in television history that the Grammys earned more of an audience than the Oscars. When Michael Jackson won swept the 1984 music awards ceremony, 51.7 viewers tuned in, and the Oscars ratings amounted to 42.1 million viewers that year, according to Nielsen.
The return of host Billy Crystal helped increase viewership, but not enough to compete with the Grammys performance-oriented content.
There were great storylines for the Grammys this year versus the Oscars, which didn't have as many story-lines, spokesman for social-media-analysis-company Trendrr Chris Thonis said to the AP.
But the amount of viewers isn't the only thing that changed--the demographic has also shifted. Less 18-49 year-olds tuned into the show than previous years, but the amount of older fans watching the ceremony made up for the difference.