The winners weren't just on stage during "The 37th Annual CMA Awards." The entire industry is coming away with the prize as album sales jump for all performers and the awards broadcast captures the No. 3 rating spot for the week — its highest ranking in 11 years.
"This is a huge win, not just for those people involved in the CMA Awards, but for everyone in our industry," said CMA executive director Ed Benson. "This is what the CMA Awards are all about — reaching potential consumers with the best our format has to offer. When we deliver on that plan, we all come away winners."
"As many other awards programs are dropping in the ratings and the viewing audience is continually splintered by cable programming it is even more rewarding to see a significant increase in ratings and the subsequent sales jump," Benson said. In 2003, the CMA Awards received a 12.8 rating with a 20 share. CBS estimates that 20.7 million people watched the entire broadcast and more than 40 million people watched all or part of the gala event.
To put it in perspective, the next closest network competition was NBC with 12.6 million viewers; ABC had 10 million; and FOX had 7 million viewers according to CBS.
Those numbers placed the CMA Awards at No. 3 in the Top 10 Nielsen shows for the first week of November sweeps just behind CBS favorites "CSI" and "Survivor." It marks the first time since 1992 that the CMA Awards have been among the Top 3 programs of the week.
And apparently, the viewers liked what they saw. Every artist who performed on the CMA Awards experienced a sales jump immediately following the broadcast. The Billboard Top 75 Country albums chart reflected nearly 170 percent weekly increase, the largest SoundScan increase in the last four years excluding debuts. Toby Keith topped the Billboard 200 chart with the debut of his "Shock'n Y'all" album, which sold 585,000 units.
"We credit the CMA Awards show with our 60 percent increase in record sales last week," said Doug Nichols, manager of CMA Vocal Group of the Year Rascal Flatts. "Several things factored into it — the show winning the night in ratings, the opportunity to perform our single 'I Melt' and winning Vocal Group of the Year. All of these multiplied exposure for Rascal Flatts."
"The quality of this year's CMA Awards was stellar," said Bev Paul, general manager of Sugar Hill Records. "Combining Norah Jones with Dolly Parton created a unique opportunity for viewers who would never see these two artists together anywhere else. We have certainly seen a spectacular return on sales due to Dolly's participation in the show."
"The increase in sales shows that when Country artists get national exposure, people respond," said Van Fletcher, senior vice president/general manager Universal South.
CMA artists and their percentage sales increase over the previous week:
Toby Keith Shock'n Y'all Debut No. 1
Various Artists Just Because I'm a Woman:
The Songs of Dolly Parton 170%
Joe Nichols Man With A Memory 149%
Kenny Chesney All I Want For Christmas
Is A Real Good Tan 135%
Martina McBride Martina 119%
Alan Jackson Greatest Hits Volume II 88%
Brooks &Dunn Red Dirt Road 85%
Terri Clark Pain To Kill 82%
Johnny Cash American IV: The Man Comes
Dolly Parton Ultimate Dolly Parton 77%
George Strait Honkytonkville 71%
Alison Krauss and Union Station Live 65%
Toby Keith Unleashed 61%
Rascal Flatts Melt 60%
Buddy Jewell Buddy Jewell 58%
Shania Twain Up! 56%
Kenny Chesney No Shoes No Shirt No
Johnny Cash The Essential Johnny Cash 49%
Vince Gill Next Big Thing 45%
Blake Shelton The Dreamer 45%
Darryl Worley Have You Forgotten? 40%
Toby Keith Best of Toby Keith 39%
Willie Nelson Willie Nelson &Friends –
Live &Kickin' 38%
Patty Loveless On Your Way Home 34%
Willie Nelson The Essential Willie
Tim McGraw Tim McGraw And The
Dancehall Doctors 32%
Dierks Bentley Dierks Bentley 27%
Alan Jackson Drive 25%
Brad Paisley Mud On The Tires 24%
George Strait For the Last Time –
Live from the Astrodome 16%
Gary Allan See If I Care 9%
"Country Music's Biggest Night(TM)" was just that. The CMA Awards was the most watched broadcast since 1996. The CMA Awards won every half hour of the three-hour primetime block. The CMA Awards won all but one demographic going up in adults 25-54 and adults 18-49. The CMA Awards was CBS' best Wednesday delivery in households and viewers since the GRAMMYS in February 2001. The CMA Awards helped CBS become the most-watched television network for the first full week of November sweeps.
"The 2003 CMA Awards show not only got the ratings, it rang the cash register for a large number of Country acts — setting a positive tone for the important fourth quarter sales period," said Joe Galante, chairman RCA Label Group.
"The results are very gratifying given the amount of time, energy, resources and talent that so many people contribute to the Awards, not just our outstanding artists, but everyone from the label staffs, publicists, managers, bands and bus drivers to the production crew, sound technicians, caterers, limo drivers, florists, ushers, volunteers and more," Benson said. "This is a collective win for thousands of people in this industry."
The industry professional members of the Country Music Association vote to determine CMA Award winners. The CMA Awards are produced by Walter C. Miller, directed by Paul Miller and scripted by David Wild. MJI Programming, a division of Premiere Radio Networks, is the official radio packager of the CMA Awards, which includes the stereo-radio simulcast of the gala event. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the 2003 CMA Awards. The Awards will also be seen around the world, including BBC Two Television in the United Kingdom and the Nine Network in Australia. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen