Reinvented Oscars ceremony witnesses record new low in TV viewership

Emmys and the Grammy Awards had also witnessed a slide in TV viewership

NEW DELHI: Amid the pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced winners of the 93rd Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, on 25 April. However, this year, the awards gala failed to attract eyeballs and preliminary Nielsen data suggests that the US television ratings for Sunday's event witnessed an all-time low in TV viewership. 

According to a Reuters report, TV viewership on Walt Disney Co's (DIS.N) ABC broadcast network averaged 9.85 million, 58 per cent lower than last year's final tally of 23.6 million viewers. The complete data regarding the final number of people who tuned into the award ceremony is expected to be released soon. 

To draw viewers during the pandemic time, producers tried several innovative ideas in this year's Oscars. The awards were broadcast for the first time at a historic train station in downtown Los Angeles, where only guests and award winners were present. There was a format revamp and the runtime was also shortened. These switch-ups, however, evidently failed to thrill the audiences.

"The Oscars were a train wreck at the train station, an excruciatingly long, boring telecast that lacked the verve of so many movies we love," wrote USA Today reviewer Kelly Lawler. 

However, Time Magazine wrote that this year's event, which went host-less for the third year running, was pretty much entertaining when compared to pre-Covid Oscars. 

The dip in ratings shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to industry watchers – after all, television viewership hit an all-time low during the live telecast of this year’s Emmy Awards and Grammy Awards. TV ratings for the Golden Globes also plummeted by 60 per cent. 

Due to the Covid outbreak, several giant production houses had to hold back their films, and as a result, small-budget movies that were streamed on OTT platforms were part of this year's Academy Awards. 

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