Sunday night’s airing of the 60th Annual Grammy Awards turned out to be a big boost for CBS’ streaming service, CBS All Access, which offered a live stream of the event on its service. According to the network, its subscription video on demand and live streaming service hit new records in terms of subscriber sign-ups and unique viewers for the awards show specifically, and was the second biggest day for subscriber sign-ups ever.
The biggest day for subscriber sign-ups was the premiere date for CBS’ anticipated, streaming-only series “Star Trek: Discovery,” not surprisingly.
CBS declined to share how many sign-ups in total could be attributed to the Grammys, but did note that unique viewers of the live stream were up more than 40 percent over last year’s telecast, and it saw record traffic across CBS’ digital platforms for Grammy day.
The livestream of the telecast was only available behind the paywall on desktop, web, mobile, and TV apps, CBS says.
Nielsen also noted the awards show was the most social TV even this year so far – but, of course, it’s only January, so that’s not necessarily a major milestone.
However, CBS had said last year it was on track to reach over 4 million subscribers by the end of 2017, and was on track to have 8 million by 2020. Reached for comment today, CBS told TechCrunch it now has “over 2 million” subscribers – an indication it didn’t meet its goals on subscriber sign-ups.
In part, that could be because CBS All Access is not the only way for cord cutters to watch CBS’ programming these days. The network is available to be streamed (in some markets) on a variety of live TV services including DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Fubo TV, and Hulu Live TV, for example.
While CBS won’t say how many new users came to CBS All Access for the Grammys, there are some other ways to measure the award show’s impact on the streaming service.
One way is by looking at the mobile app’s ranking in the app store.
Before Grammy day, the app’s average Monday ranking among all free iPhone apps in the U.S. on the preceding four Mondays was around No. 325 on the charts, according to data from Sensor Tower. And the app hadn’t ranked above No. 100 on this chart since back in September 2017.
After the awards show, the app jumped up significantly, and is now ranked No. 89 among all free iPhone apps in the U.S.
To give you some general sense of what that ranking means in terms of downloads, one fairly close comparison by ranking number is Tinder, at No. 82. On Saturday, January 27th, the No. 82-ranked app saw approximately 24,000 iPhone downloads that day. (At No. 89, CBS All Access would fall under that, of course, but you can get a sense.)
The app’s highest ranking before Grammy day wasn’t actually the day the new “Star Trek” premiered, we should note. It was three days prior – apparently, folks were getting ready in advance. The iPhone app had then achieved a rank of No. 69 on that day.
That the Grammys didn’t break a new record for CBS All Access sign-ups (compared to “Star Trek”) isn’t necessarily the biggest concern. It’s a one-time-per-year event, after all – meaning, it can only go so far in terms of convincing new users to give the streaming service a try.
What CBS All Access really needs is more programming that has the draw of “Star Trek,” which itself has had mixed reviews – or something even better.