The preliminary ratings numbers are out and Nielsen Media Research is saying that ratings for the Academy Awards telecast Sunday night were some 14 percent lower than the least-watched ceremony ever, which was 2003, when 33 million people watched. And these preliminary ratings are also 21 percent lower than last year.
Advertisers look to the Oscars, nicknamed "the Super Bowl for women" to reach a mass audience of more affluent women. Last year 40 million people watched the awards ceremony, two thirds of them women. This year, thanks to the writers' strike, the fact that the nominated movies didn't have huge box office success, I'm not surprised that it's much less. The Academy - and ABC (owned by Disney (DIS)), which broadcasts the telecast - will want to get the numbers up again next year.
But since the Academy can't control which films its members vote for, it's up to the Academy to come up with a way to make the show more exciting. And I'm sure the Academy hopes that next year there's a "Chicago" or "Titanic" --a movie that wins both at the box office and at the Oscars, the best recipe for Oscar ratings gold.