Advertisers may reconsider the Oscars after ratings decline

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

Viewership for this year’s broadcast dropped a sharp 58%.

Ratings for Sunday night’s 93rd Academy Awards are in — and it's worse than expected.

Less than 10 million people tuned in to ABC to watch the live broadcast on Sunday, according to Nielsen, with ratings plummeting 58% over last year. The decline was greater among adults ages 18 to 49, which dropped by a 64%

It’s a record low for the film industry’s biggest award show, and it follows steep viewership declines for other awards programs including The Grammys, down 53% this year to 9.2 million viewers, and the Golden Globes down 60% to 5.4 million viewers. 

For advertisers, award show declines put into question whether such programs still hold the same value for their asking price. ABC sold out its ad inventory for the broadcast, with companies such as Cadillac spending an estimated $2 million for a 30-second spot. 

Awards shows are not just suffering due to COVID. Nielsen data shows adults aged 18 to 34 are averaging 452 minutes of live TV per week, a 23% drop compared to 2020. Viewers aged 65 and older watch an average of 40 hours of live TV per week, in comparison. 

So is advertising in live events like the Oscars worth the price? While some advertisers still see the value in being part of the most-watched entertainment program of the year, others are placing their bets on other screens. 

As audiences fragment across different channels, Campaign US readers responded: the Oscars are old news.

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