One of the prime reasons given for all of the changes that were made or at least proposed for the 91st Academy Awards was that AMPAS wanted to increase viewership. After ratings were low for the 90th ceremony, the Oscar telecast was subjected to a whole battery of efforts to bring in more eyeballs. Well, while many of those proposals were scrapped, the end result was that more folks actually did watch the show.
According to Deadline, the Oscars got at least some of the ratings bounce that they were hoping for. ABC and the Academy saw a score of 20.6/34, putting it 9% higher than last year. However, that still represents an 8% decrease from the year before, where we saw “La La Land” and “Moonlight” be subjected to the infamous Best Picture snafu.
Final numbers will fully tell the tale, but this seems to be mostly good news for the Academy. Potentially for viewers too. Had ratings continued to decline, more sweeping changes could have been in the cards.
For comparison, the article lists some of the recent ratings for Oscar telecasts:
2018: 26.5 million, The Shape of Water (Jimmy Kimmel)
2017: 32.9 million, Moonlight (Jimmy Kimmel)
2016: 34.4 million, Spotlight (Chris Rock)
2015: 37.3 million, Birdman (Neil Patrick Harris)
2014: 43.7 million, 12 Years a Slave (Ellen DeGeneres)
2013: 40.3 million, Argo (Seth MacFarlane)
2012: 39.3 million, The Artist (Billy Crystal)
2011: 37.9 million, The King’s Speech (Anne Hathaway/James Franco)
2010: 41.3 million, The Hurt Locker (Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin)
2009: 36.3 million, Slumdog Millionaire (Hugh Jackman)
2008: 32.0 million, No Country For Old Men (Jon Stewart)
2007: 40. 2 million, The Departed (Ellen DeGeneres)
2006: 38.9 million, Crash (Jon Stewart)
2005 42.1 million, Million Dollar Baby (Chris Rock)
2004: 43.5 million, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (Billy Crystal)
2003: 33.0 million, Chicago (Steve Martin)
2002: 41.8 million, A Beautiful Mind (Whoopi Goldberg)
2001: 42.9 million, Gladiator (Steve Martin)
Though not a giant leap upwards, the fact remains that ratings for the Academy Award went up. Whatever else the AMPAS decision makers have to figure out, at least they can take comfort in that.