Academy Awards – Fewest Viewers in Decades

February 27, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Television | Women

This year, 32 million viewers in about 21.1 million US homes tuned into watch the 80th Academy Awards – the fewest number of homes in 39 years, ABC said, citing Nielsen Media Research projections.

Yet according to Nielsen’s annual guide to the Academy Awards, the broadcast is typically one of the highest rated TV events of the year.

Last year’s show attracted more than 40.1 million US viewers and averaged a 23.6% household rating; the biggest markets were New York, with the highest overall local rating (35%) and Los Angeles (32%):

nielsen-academy-awards-top-10-local-market-ratings-2007-again.jpg

Almost 60% of Academy Awards viewers in 2007 were women. Within this group, viewers were also most likely to be…

  • At least 35 years old
  • College-educated and with incomes of at least $75,000 per year
  • Living in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, or Pacific regions of the US
  • Living in upscale suburban areas or major urban centers (40%)
  • In a large family with older children (6+ in age), or older couples (35+)

Advertising Trends

Findings from the Nielsen Monitor-Plus 2007 analysis:

  • There were a total of 24 commercial minutes during the 3-hour, 10-minute broadcast.
  • 27 unique brands aired a total of 38 national advertisements.
  • The cost for a 30-second ad rose slightly from $1.65 million in 2006 to $1.67 million in 2007 (the average cost has increased 23% over the past 5 years):

nielsen-academy-awards-30-second-spot-cost-best-picture-1993-2007-again.jpg

  • Total ad spend during the broadcast decreased slightly, from $80.7 million in 2006 to $79.9 million in 2007.

From January to November 2007, spending on ad promotion for movies nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Director was more than $102 million.

nielsen-academy-awards-ad-spend-jan2007-nov2007-again.jpg

Online Buzz

Traffic to the three major Oscar Web sites (oscar.movies.yahoo.com, oscar.com, and oscars.org) increased 183% during the week of the Academy Awards in 2007, and reached 1.8 million unique visitors on the day of the ceremony, Nielsen found. On the day after the telecast, combined unique visitors to these sites grew 81% to 3.3 million.

This year, Johnny Depp and George Clooney were the most discussed Best Actor nominees in the blogosphere, respectively grabbing 32.24% and 13.74% of all online buzz relating to the Oscars.

The following graph shows coverage by blogs (the 70 million in the Nielsen Online database) of both the Awards and the writer’s strike in the last three months:

nielsen-academy-awards-blog-post-nov-20-feb-8-again.jpg

The steep spikes on Jan. 22 and Feb. 13 were caused by the nomination announcements and the end of the writers’ strike.

About the guide: The Nielsen Company collected the data for this guide from its various research units in marketing (ACNielsen), media (Nielsen Media Research), and online intelligence (Nielsen Online).

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