(CNN) -- More than 20 million people watched the Golden Globes on Sunday night, the highest total audience for the awards show in 10 years.
The strong ratings for the Globes were another affirmation that live awards shows are a boon to television networks in this age of increasingly time-shifted viewing.
According to Nielsen, the average total audience during the three-hour broadcast was 20.9 million, up from 19.7 million last year. The network that televised the awards, NBC, pulled a 6.5 rating in the key advertiser demographic of adults ages 18 to 49, an uptick from last year's 6.4 rating.
NBC said the total viewer number was the Globes' best since 2004, when the program drew 26.8 million viewers.
On the Internet, Nielsen SocialGuide, which measures the reach of Twitter messages, found that 2.36 million messages about the Globes reached a total of 10.4 million users on Sunday night.
Entertainment Weekly, which like CNN is owned by Time Warner, observed that "any ratings boost could be seen as another endorsement of hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who hosted the show for the second year in a row. They are also signed to host the awards next year."
The red carpet arrivals special on NBC, hosted by the cast of the "Today" show, also performed well. It averaged more than 10 million viewers between 7 and 8 p.m. ET. The competing red carpet special on E! averaged 2.2 million viewers between 6 and 8 p.m. ET, which E! said was one of its highest-rated editions in Globes history.