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The Oscars last night featured an amazing musical number by host Neil Patrick Harris (along with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black), plenty of jokes and more. However, despite the generally appealing format, a chunk of people who usually watch the Oscars did not tune in this year. In fact, early numbers indicate that overall viewership of the 87th Academy Awards ceremony was down 12%.
This morning, ratings shares indicate that the 2015 Academy Awards brought in a 24.6 rating and a 39% market share. As noted by TV Media Insights, last year’s awards ceremony did a 27.9 rating and a 41% share. While that’s not a gigantic drop in the ratings, it is significant enough that it is worth pointing out that less people were invested in this year’s awards. It's also worth it to ponder over what may have made the numbers drop. We’ve got a few theories, below.
First of all, while Neil Patrick Harris has his followers, and many of those thought he put on a pretty great show last night. Regardless, he also has his detractors, some of whom seemed to be pretty vocal about their hate on social media last night. Neil Patrick Harris likely wasn’t a deal breaker for avid moviegoers, but for casual watchers who tune in when they really dig a host, Harris may have been a source of disappointment and turned some viewers away. Still, we’d argue the bigger problem with last night’s telecast were the nominees.
Yes, the nominees. While Rosamund Pike has become an “it girl” and many people were wowed by performances from Eddie Redmayne, J.K. Simmons and Michael Keaton during the year in film, last night’s nominees had significantly less power at the box office than prior years. For instance, in 2010 the Best Picture nominees pulled in a whopping 4.7 billion dollars in revenue. The 2015 Best Picture nominees, in comparison, had made under a billion dollars by the time last night’s big ceremony aired. That just shows that many of the nominees for this year’s awards have not been heavily watched by the audience at home, and probably affected the number of eyeballs who were interested in seeing which flick would actually win Best Picture.
A 12% downtick isn’t so major that the members of the Academy need to be panicking, but it does show how detached the Oscars have become from the average viewing population, leading to lower ratings during movie-related telecasts, such as the Oscars. The good news? This year is pretty stacked with awesome flicks, from big budget fodder like Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to smaller movies like The Revenant. Here’s hoping the stacked year leads to better Oscar viewership next year.