The Recording Academy
POWER MOVE: Topping the ratings of the Academy Awards with the 2012 Grammy telecast.
THE RUNDOWN: Neil Portnow’s 10th anniversary last year as chief of the Recording Academy saw the Grammy Awards organization achieve multiple milestones.
The Feb. 12, 2012 telecast, the day after Whitney Houston’s death, attracted more than 39 million viewers, its second-largest audience in history and the first time it topped the ratings for the Academy Awards. In social media, the Grammys became the most popular program on TV, with 13 million mentions.
Two nights before the Grammys, the Recording Academy’s MusiCares charity raised $6.5 million at a dinner honoring Paul McCartney — and, by year’s end, a 20th-anniversary drive took in another $12.5 million. Also in 2012, CBS and the Grammys signed a 10-year deal that ensures a longtime home for the awards show, the nominations concert and a new “Grammys Presents” special that launched last year with a salute to Houston. Through the Grammy Foundation, music educators will also receive honors for the first time in 2014.
During this coming year, Portnow says, “We’ll continue to push for the diversification of our membership in genre, gender, geography and age, and we have international initiatives likely to reach a strong point.” In the works are TV projects in China, the United Kingdom and other areas of Europe.
Expect to see other tie-ins in 2013 beyond awards shows and concert events. “We have the most robust sponsor partnerships ever,” Portnow adds, “and we’re looking to put more products in the market, such as a high-end digital watch with Gucci.”
Neil Portnow photo by Joseph Llanes