Final Oscar Ratings: Demo Stays Lowest Since 2008, Viewership Worst Since 2009

FINAL UPDATE, 11:57 AM: Like the show itself, the ratings for the Oscars feel like they will never end. Now, two days after Hollywood’s biggest night we have the final, final numbers for the 87th Academy Awards. While it is still the lowest performance among adults 18-49 since 2008 and the lowest viewership since 2009, the spread has tightened a touch. In final ratings, the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted Oscars on Sunday went up a bit to get an 11.0/26 rating in the key demo with 37.3 million total viewers. That equals a 16% drop from the 2014 Academy Awards in the demo. It also is a 14% downturn from the 2014  Ellen DeGeneres-fronted ceremony.

2ND UPDATE, 11:40 AM: All the awards have been given out and it looks like the final numbers for the 87th Oscars are in. Running on ABC from 8:30-11:48 PM ET last night, the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted show garnered a 10.8 rating among adults 18-49 with 36.6 million viewers. That’s a 17% drop in the key demo from the final ratings for the 2014 Academy Awards and the worst the ceremony has done since 2008, when that show had a 10.68 rating. The total viewership for last night’s Oscars was down 18% from last year to hit a six-year low; the 2009 Oscars also had a total audience of 36.6 million.

The numbers for the 2015 Oscars could see further adjustment, as they did last year, but let’s just say it’s pretty certain they won’t be going up to 2014 or 2013 levels.

UPDATE, 8:07 AM: The ratings are coming in almost as fast as the awards were handed out during last night’s Oscars and preliminary fast nationals have the Neil Patrick Harris hosted show getting a 10.3/27 among adults 18-49. That’s a drop of 14% from the 12.1/29 that the Ellen DeGeneres-fronted Oscars pulled in last year for ABC on March 2. Viewershipwise, the 87th Academy Awards were watched by 34.6 million between 8:30-11 PM in the early results. That’s down almost 14% from the 40.2 million who watched the show over the same time period last year. While that number will change in later ratings, for a point of context the only lower number in the last few years was the 2008 Oscars, which had a final viewership of 32.0 million. The 2003 Oscars had an audience of 33.0 million, the worst the show has done this century.

In the final adjusted numbers, the 86th Annual Academy Awards ended up with an overall viewership of 43.7 million with a 13.1/33 rating among the demo. Which is a nice way of saying, expected adjustments for last night’s 8:30 P – 12:08 AM ET show when they come in later today or tomorrow.

Starting at 7 PM last night, the three Oscar Red Carpet specials were down 13%, 10% and 9% from last year’s fast nationals with 4.6/14, 6.1/17 and 8.3/22 ratings.

Other than Oscar hoopla on ABC, the only original on TV last night was a 90-minute tribute to Bob Simon on 60 Minutes (0.8/2) on CBS. The veteran reporter and correspondent was killed in a car crash in NYC on February 11. Last night, the news mag show was down 33% from last week’s show.

PREVIOUS, 7:09 AM: It was a Best Picture win for Birdman last night at the 87th Academy Awards along with Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress victories for Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore. With How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris in his hosting debut, ABC saw the Oscars down double digits from last year’s second time at bat for Ellen DeGeneres.

In metered market ratings, last night’s ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood drew a 24.6/39. That’s a 12% drop from the 27.9/41 that the show got last year on March 2. Tied with the metered market results of the 2011 Oscars, last night’s results were the third worst the Oscars has done in MM ratings since 2005 – only 2009’s 23.3 and 2008’s 21.9 were lower. Last night’s show peaked in the 9:30 PM half-hour with a 25.6/37. In Local People Meters, the 87th Academy Awards got a 14.2/36, a drop of two-tenths from 2014’s results. Of the last decade, the 2014 show was second to the all-time high Academy Awards metered markets result of 30.1/43 that the 2005 broadcast had. The 2014 Oscars eventually pulled a total viewership of 43.7 million with a 13.1/33 rating among adults 18-49.

When all was said and done and selfied, that show ended up being just an 8% bop up from the Seth MacFarlane hosted show of 2013 among the demo, but was the most watched Oscars since the 46.53 million of 2000.Year after year, the Oscars are traditionally the top-rated entertainment program on TV – for instance, last night’s show beat the Grammy telecast on CBS two weeks ago by 50% in MM results. Sunday to Sunday, primetime to primetime, the 3.5-hour star-studded February 14 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special on NBC got a 14.2 rating in the 56 markets that Nielsen meter.

Part of this year’s decline could have to do with the fact that a lot of the big awards were handed out after 11 PM ET and that of the eight films that were nominated for Best Picture, only the Clint Eastwood directed American Sniper and the Weinstein Company distributed The Imitation Game were big draws at the domestic box office. Released on Christmas Day last year, the latter has drawn in a blockbuster $319 million, while the former has made nearly $84 million since it went wide on December 25. This year’s Best Picture winner Birdman has made just over $37 million since it came out on October 17, 2014 in limited release and then on to more screens on November 14.

This year’s nominees are a big contrast to the 86th Oscars when four of the nominees had made $100 million and more. Having said that, last year’s Best Picture winner was the Steve McQueen directed 12 Years A Slave, which has made just under $57 million at the box office.

We’ll update with more ratings as they come in this morning, but here’s some math – while down from the all time record of 4 hours and 22 minutes in 2002, the 87th Oscars was a long night. With musical performances that included former Tony and Emmy host Harris and Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick, Lady Gaga’s tribute to The Sound Of Music,  Common and John Legend doing their Oscar winning “Glory” from Selma, a rendition of The LEGO Movie‘s “Everything Is Awesome” that had Tegan and Sara, the old SNL Digital Shorts gang plus members of Devo and The Roots and a few awards here and there, the show ran from 8:30 PM – 12:08 AM ET.

Here’s some more math – Across the country, the Top 5 highest-rated markets for last night’s Oscars were Los Angeles (33.5 rating), Chicago (32.5 rating), New York (32.4 rating), San Diego (31.7 rating-tie) and Kansas City (31.7 rating-tie).

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