UPDATE, MARCH 1 1:27 PM: Like last year, the Oscars had a few stragglers when it came to viewership. Nielsen is now reporting that the total audience for the 88th Academy Awards has eked up to 34.4 million with a key demo rating of 10.5/31. That’s a rise of a tenth among adults 18-49 and just 100,000 in total viewership and still has Sunday’s Chris Rock hosted show as the third least watched Oscars ever and an 8-year low for the telecast. Additionally, it looks like that decline from 2015 had little to do with African-American viewers boycotting the ceremony over the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Viewership among the demographic dipped just 2% from last year, according to Nielsen.
PREVIOUS, FEB 29 AM: The Oscars were all given out last night at the 88th Academy Awards but despite one of the most anticipated opening monologues in years due to the diversity controversy, it turns out there is no gold, nor silver or bronze for ABC. With 34.3 million total viewers watching the Chris Rock hosted shindig from the Hollywood and Highland on Sunday, the Oscars took a tumble this year to hit an 8-year low and the third lowest viewership ever.
With wins by Spotlight, Brie Larson, a long waiting Leonardo DiCaprio and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, last night’s results are down 8% and 5% respectively in total viewership and the key demo from last year’s Neil Patrick Harris hosted show. Among adults 18-49 last night’s 8:30 – 11:51 PM ET Oscars got a 10.4 rating – another multi-year low. Now, if last year’s increase of 700,000 total viewers in the very final numbers, are any indication, things could go up for the Oscars in the next couple of days but likely not enough to break that 8-year low mark.
In the end, the 2015 Academy Awards delivered 37.3 million total viewers and an 11.0/26 rating in the key demo. Bak then, that was the lowest performance among adults 18-49 since 2008 and the lowest viewership since 2009. Having said that, the 2016 Oscars did not fall as much year-to-year as the 2015 Oscars did. 2015 was down 16% among the 18-49s and 14% in total viewership from the Ellen DeGeneres hosted 2014 show – which, with 43.74 million watching, had the best total audience results since 2000. Looking at the biggest movies to win Best Picture this century, blockbuster Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King won in 2004. That year, the awards had 43.53 million viewers – not quite 200o’s 46.33 million but very close behind 2014 when crowd pleaser Argo won.
Like an echo from another era, last night was in far different place than the last time Rock hosted the Oscars just over a decade ago. The 2005 Rock hosted Oscars pulled in 42.14 million viewers with 19.6 million in the demo – the show has surpassed that number only once, in 2014, since then.
Even with the ratings decline, last night’s Oscars was far from the worst the ceremony has done this century or ever – that Oscar goes to the February 24, 2008 Academy Awards, which drew just over 32 million viewers. Take a look here at the Oscar viewership this century for greater context:
2016 34.3 million Spotlight Host Chris Rock
2015 37.3 million Birdman Host Neil Patrick Harris
2014 43.7 million 12 Years A Slave Host Ellen DeGeneres
2013 40.3 million Argo Host Seth MacFarlane
2012 39.3 million The Artist Host Billy Crystal
2011 37.9 million The King’s Speech Hosts Anne Hathaway/James Franco
2010 41.3 million The Hurt Locker Hosts Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin
2009 36.3 million Slumdog Millionaire Host Hugh Jackman
2008 32.0 million No Country For Old Men Host Jon Stewart
2007 40. 2 million The Departed Host Ellen DeGeneres
2006 38.9 million Crash Host Jon Stewart
2005 42.1 million Million Dollar Baby Host: Chris Rock
2004 43.5 million Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King Host Billy Crystal
2003 33.0 million Chicago Host Steve Martin
2002 41.8 million A Beautiful Mind Host Whoopi Goldberg
2001 42.9 million Gladiator Host Steve Martin
The near decade slide for the Oscars were made pretty clear earlier today when the metered market numbers came out around 6 AM PT. With a 23.1/37 in metered market results was down 6% from the 24.6/39 that the ceremony got last year in early results from the 56 markets across the country. Like the viewership numbers that’s also an 8-year Oscar low.
The 2015 Neil Patrick Harris-hosted Oscars were matched with the 2011 Oscars for the third worst the Academy Awards has done in MM ratings since the last time Rock fronted the gig in 2005 – only 2009’s Hugh Jackman-hosted 23.3 and 2008’s Jon Stewart-hosted 21.9 were lower. Obviously, in the early results, last night’s show dipped below 2009 and close to 2008 numbers.
The 2005 Oscars were the best the show has done in the past decade with a 30.1/43 MM rating. That high has also remained true in later numbers for the show. With Million Dollar Baby winning Best Picture, the 2005 Oscars ended up with a massive 42.14 million viewers and 19.6 million among adults 18-49. In both categories, that was a dip from 2004’s results. Compared to the last time Rock hosted 11-years ago, last night’s 8:30 – midnight show was down 23% in metered market results – much more than a dip.
In local people meters, last night’s Rock-hosted show averaged a 13.5/7 among adults 18-49 according to Nielsen. That’s a 3% slip from the LPM markets for the 2015 Oscars.