herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Michael O'Doherty: I'm not surprised the Meteors are finished. Take it from me, red carpet and screaming teens do not mix

With all due respect to the Irish Contract Cleaning Association Awards, Ireland only hosts four glamorous awards ceremonies each year.

These events -- the IFTAs, Meteors, VIP Style Awards, and TVNow Awards -- give the Irish public the chance to vote for their favourite stars, and also see them decked out in their finery on the red carpet.

The now defunct Meteors -- sponsored by the phone company, but not organised by them -- always had something of an identity crisis.

Part awards ceremony, part industry love-in, part pop concert, it attempted to be all things to all people but ended up, as such things inevitably do, being bugger all to many.



GRATING

As a formal awards ceremony, it simply didn't work, with the incessant screaming of teenage fans providing a grating backdrop to the attempts of the MC and winners to make themselves heard.

And it became increasingly obvious that if a decent act turned up to perform, it was because they were going to receive an award, which ruined the 'opening of the envelope' moment that these ceremonies thrive on.

From a red carpet point of view, the Meteors were a major disappointment. Last year, VIP didn't even bother featuring pics from the event, such was the poor quality of style on offer.

The guest list might have been strong, but most invitees saw it as a night to dress down, look cool, and save their frocks for the IFTAs which, in recent years, took place a couple of days later.

As a concert, it suffered a similar fate of falling between two stools.

The Meteors wanted to see itself as cutting edge, promoting the best of new Irish music. Yet for 10 years in a row, Westlife or Boyzone were the performers that the vast majority of the audience wanted to see.

And finding a decent line-up of bands to attract the public, both to the venue and the TV broadcast a few days later, was getting more and more difficult.

No matter what you may think of them, the fact that U2 never felt it worthwhile to perform at the Meteors spoke volumes about where it came in the big bands' pecking order.

Ultimately, it was commercial considerations that killed the Meteors.

Selling expensive VIP tickets for an event is not the walk in the park it once was, and trying to shift tickets at €40 each to members of the public -- usually in their teens -- when they may only get one song from the band they actually want to see, was also becoming a chore.

All of which was doable for organisers MCD, as long as they had a title sponsor. In return for having naming rights over the event, Meteor would pay out big money, rumoured to be in the region of €250,000 a year. In the days when they were a fledgling network, these awards put their name on everyone's lips in a way that no amount of advertising could do.



HARSH

But having established themselves as a brand, they probably feel that such a big chunk of money being spent on one event, which really only generated two days' worth of publicity, simply couldn't be justified any more.

And the harsh reality for a huge, commercially-funded operation like the Meteors is "no title sponsor, no event."

So then there were three...

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