People's Choice Awards winners: Why digital categories were recently added

The People's Choice Awards aired on Jan. 6 and winners included the sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory' and singer Taylor Swift. Both the People's Choice Awards and similar programs like the Teen Choice Awards recently added categories that honor social media stars.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Matt Bellassai poses in the press room with the award for favorite social media star at the 2016 People's Choice Awards.

The 2016 People’s Choice Awards were held on Jan. 6 and pop culture entities such as “Furious 7,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and music group Fifth Harmony were honored.

The ceremony aired on CBS, and, as indicated by the name, the awards honor those who were selected by the public as their “favorite” in a category such as favorite movie, favorite network TV drama, and favorite breakout artist.

The action movie “Furious 7” was selected as favorite movie, while Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum won the favorite movie actress and favorite movie actor prizes, respectively. The favorite TV show and favorite network comedy prizes were taken by “Theory,” while “Grey’s Anatomy” was named as the favorite network drama. 

The music group Fifth Harmony were named as the favorite group. Ed Sheeran took the title of favorite male artist, and Taylor Swift was named the favorite female artist. 

New prizes were those in the digital category, which selected a celebrity as the public’s favorite on social media and also included awards such as favorite YouTube star. 

The addition echoes that of the Teen Choice Awards, which added Web categories for the ceremony in 2014. The Teen Choice Awards air on Fox and are obviously aimed at a younger audience. 

The new categories are no doubt an attempt to better represent a society in which young people can become internationally famous on social media. For example, Hayes Grier earned a spot on the ABC reality competition “Dancing With the Stars” for his fame on the social media service Vine, where he has more than 4 million followers.

We’ll see how ratings for this year’s People’s Choice Awards end up, but last year’s Teen Choice Awards, when those digital categories were part of the ceremony, did fine – the ratings were about the same as in 2014 and the show was the best of the night in ratings for teenagers.  

Younger viewers are most likely drawn to the ceremony for a variety of factors, such as which actors or musicians are nominated in a certain year, but it seems that adding digital categories didn’t alienate teenage viewers and kept the show a viable commodity for Fox.

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