The jaw-dropping conclusion to last night’s presentation of the 89th Academy Awards wasn’t enough to defray an ongoing ratings slide, as the three-hour-and-33-minute ceremony delivered one of the smallest Oscars audiences in modern TV history.
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, ABC’s broadcast averaged 32.9 million viewers, making it the second least-watched Oscars since the 2008 show hit bottom with a draw of 32 million viewers. More tellingly, Sunday night’s broadcast delivered just a 9.1 rating in ABC’s target demo, which works out to 11.7 million viewers in the 18-49 demo. By comparison, the 2016 Academy Awards drew a 10.4 rating, while the low-turnout 2008 showcase scared up a 10.7 in the demo.
Targeted viewers were down 13% compared with last year’s broadcast, and while ABC is not on the hook for makegoods — as with the Super Bowl, ratings guarantees are not furnished to advertisers who buy Oscars inventory — the declines are likely to play a role in next year’s unit pricing. (As it happens, this year marked the first time since 2010 in which ABC’s average price for a 30-second slice of airtime dropped compared with the previous year. According to buyers, the going rate for a :30 in this year’s show was around $2 million a pop, down from $2.1 million in 2016, although some units fetched higher rates.)
See more at Ad Age.