The numbers are there: This year’s Academy Awards drew the lowest audiences on record, with just 9.85 million viewers, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen. This is a drop of 58% compared to last year, when ratings hit their lowest level ever.
Despite the warning signs of a drop in audience following the poor results of Golden globes and Grammy Awards, along with the lack of commercially successful films among the nominees, advertisers continued to shell out millions for commercials during the ceremony.
A 30-second spot during the ceremony costs around $ 2 million, according to data company Kantar Media, and ABC has run out of commercials. This cost is in line with that of last year, when the ceremony, including the red carpet, brought in $ 150 million in advertising revenue for ABC. With the show’s advertising time having remained stable over the past five years, we can expect that number to be about the same this year.
“Any program that brings audiences these days is a rare commodity,” says Jim Spaeth, of advertising measurement firm Sequent Partners.
Audiences for the Academy Awards are shrinking every year, but advertisers are willing to spend more than ever, desperate for their products to be seen in this on-screen environment that increasingly includes ad-free streaming services. Since 2016, the show’s audience has fallen 70%, but the price of a 30-second ad has increased by 25%, according to data from Kantar.
“I don’t think they’re happy with it,” says Alice Sylvester of Sequent Partners of advertisers’ consideration of audiences. “But there is a cachet associated with the content itself, and marketers who want and appreciate that cachet will want to be there, regardless of the size of the audience,” she added, highlighting the advantages of associating a brand with a high level event.
There is also the fact that a number of advertisers are bound by long term sponsorship contracts. Brands like Cadillac and Rolex are typically the top advertising spend at the Oscars; in recent years, they’ve each spent more than $ 10 million on advertising for the night, according to Kantar. By deciding not to advertise this year, brands may have a harder time getting a good deal next year, when audiences may increase.
“I bet there will be a huge pent-up demand,” says Jim Spaeth. “People will be so excited to go out and go to the movies.”
The official Oscar ratings, including viewers in all time zones, will be published by ABC.
Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Madeline Berg
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Oscars 2021: advertisers spend millions on least-watched ceremony of all time – Forbes