Skip to main content

CMT Expands 'Music Awards' Into Three-Day Party

CMT has turned its CMT Music Awards into a three-day party in Nashville, and a record number of sponsors have turned out for the festivities.

The Viacom network has rebranded around “modern country” to attract a more diverse audience and has seen ratings rise with new programming, including the former ABC drama Nashville.

The CMT Music Awards, airing Wednesday night (June 7), is the network’s biggest event. Last year ratings were up 20%, attracting a record 3.6 million total viewers as it aired on CMT, TV Land and Nick at Nite.

“We noticed that our audience has started to grow and we’re bringing in the country music audience. Not only are they coming in, but they’re staying,” said Adam Steingart, senior vice president of integrated marketing for CMT. “We realized this is a great opportunity for us to also grow the size and footprint of what’s going on around our largest tentpole event, the CMT Music Awards.”

One of the priorities for new Viacom CEO Bob Bakish is having its networks create more events in the physical world. At its Movie & TV Awards earlier this year, MTV held a Music & Television Festival, featuring live music, special guests and food outside the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, where the awards were telecast. Comedy Central just held its three-day Clusterfest comedy festival in San Francisco, and BET has surrounded its annual award show with the BET Experience.

Related: Viacom’s Bakish Touts Skinny Bundles

“The country audience is an audience that people don’t always pay attention to, but they’re out there and they’re a large number of people who have made it the most popular format in music," Steingart said. "So we wanted to create an experience that can serve those folks. People get to not only interact with the CMT brand but also our sponsors’ brands along the way.”

The expanded CMT Music Awards has attracted a record number of sponsors, which in turn means higher revenue for the event, Steingart said.


Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.