“We were seeing a hard impact on the performance this year of the Oscars, given the reality of movies in theaters and the moviegoing audience being able to actually see all those movies,” Disney Advertising Sales and Partnerships boss Rita Ferro said Tuesday during the company’s pre-upfronts online press conference.
Last month, the 93rd Academy Awards fell to lows unfathomable just a few years ago with 10.4 million viewers and a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 on ABC, the least watched and lowest rated ever. Searchlight and Hulu’s Nomandland took Best Picture.
The troubling numbers come as Disney-owned ABC asks advertisers to shell out $2 million and more for 30-second spots on Hollywood’s biggest night.
“There’s no question that we will look at all of the sponsorships across all of our business going forward and make sure that they reflect the potential and the audience and the impact that they drive,” Ferro said. “But live continues to be an important strategy for us.”
Joined by fellow ad execs Lisa Valentino and Adam Monaco today, Ferro laid a lot of the Oscars’ latest harsh decline on the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that almost all cinemas across America were shuttered over the past year.
She didn’t offer specifics on how ad rates for the Oscars could change, but certainly the topic is clearly on the table. Even though this year’s lows are built upon the previous lows of 2020, Ferro appeared to want to paint the 2021 situation as the exception, not the norm.
“Being at the Oscars, being on the red carpet and having all of that come back will be a tremendous opportunity to get fans and clients back together again, to see the best in film entertainment,” she said. “So we’re looking forward to the Oscars next year.”