CBS All Access fumbles Grammys live stream, posts record viewer numbers anyway

After a record-setting and mostly successful, and free, live stream of the Super Bowl two weeks ago, CBS apparently dropped the ball on its live stream of the Grammy Awards, which was available online only to CBS All Access subscribers. Viewers paying a $5.99 monthly fee to access content like the awards show complained that the early part of the ceremony was inaccessible online.

Despite the connection complaints, the show drove CBS All Access views to their highest one-day totals ever, the network said. Although it didn't provide specific numbers, CBS said live-streaming users jumped 247 percent and unique users rose 192 percent compared to last year's Grammy Awards.

Other online platforms including and the CBS app saw increased visits, unique users and more time spent, up "double-digit" percentages year over year.

CBS Interactive chalked up the glitch to a third-party provider, telling Fortune that some of its subscribers "experienced temporary difficulty accessing the live online feed, because the location services provider had a temporary problem verifying user locations." The digital media unit said those issues were resolved and all users were able to access the live stream by 10 p.m. ET.

Why would location services matter? Because CBS All Access isn't available to the entire U.S. yet: about 85 percent of its affiliates are on board with CBS All Access. Variety speculated that some of the complaints might be "viewers trying to watch in markets where the live TV stream is not available via CBS All Access."

The Grammy Awards live stream was an opportunity for CBS to draw in more subscribers to its linear All Access OTT platform. The company offered a one-week free trial to new users, according to Variety.

For more:
- see this Fortune article
- see this Variety article

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