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Despite worst ratings in 5 years, ABC pushing for Oscars max $$ ad buys…

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  • Guest2014
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    John
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    #196040

    Ever since the mid-1980’s with the advent of widespread cable TV and the proliferation of hundreds of cable channels, Nielsen ratings for the Big Three networks (ABC, CBC and NBC) have shrunk substantially from the competition, and the newer two broadcasters, Fox and CW, have shrunk along with them since their inceptions. The ratings (audience share) for the Academy Awards program have taken a seemingly slow random walk downward in the past 30 years, but its variation after taking into account broadcast network shrinkage from cable channel competition has been driven primarily by two things. The first is whether or not there’s a box office blockbuster nominated for Best Picture. A classic example is Titanic, and another is Avatar. The second is what the other networks throw into the opposing time slot. If there’s an NFL football game on the Academy Awards show ratings share tanks badly. Put up a final mega-show for one of the major reality show programs, or a major figure skating special, and that will put a huge dent in their ratings as well.

    The difference between last year and the year before was driven by the Best Picture nominee lists. The 2014 program had several major well-known box office hits on the list. The 2015 program had Eastwood’s American Sniper with over half a 547M US$ revenue followed by Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel at 175M US$, decent revenue and great profit, but still less than a third, and the others way down from that. If there aren’t two or three major blockbusters in strong contention for Best Picture, more of the TV audience will watch something else and find out who won what on the 11 PM news. The vast majority of viewers are only concerned with Best Picture and the four Best Actor/Actress awards. They couldn’t care less about the rest, not even Best Director. The other problem the program has had is its bloat, and that’s had some effect on the long-term ratings decline (not as much as cable channel dilution). Now there are three 1/2 hour “red carpet” pre-shows broadcast back to back with the 2-1/2 hour main program consuming ABC for four hours straight from 7-11PM EST. Ending on time has gotten better with local affiliates (and viewers) complaining about overrunning their time slot, but there were years in the past when it dragged on, and not by just a few minutes.

    I stopped watching the Academy Awards TV broadcast many years ago when it bloated out of control. As far as I’m concerned the main program is an hour too long. While AMPAS undoubtedly gets a big pile of $$$ for TV broadcast rights, I don’t believe they care much about the awards program’s Nielsen ratings. ABC will still get major ad $$$ for the main program as it still carries the largest TV share for the night by an overwhelming margin, even in the low ratings years like this year’s was.

    John

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    tennisfreak
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    #196041

    The second is what the other networks throw into the opposing time slot. If there’s an NFL football game on the Academy Awards show ratings share tanks badly. Put up a final mega-show for one of the major reality show programs, or a major figure skating special, and that will put a huge dent in their ratings as well.

    Ok just so we are clear, we are talking about the American Academy Awards right? The ones that air 3 weeks after the NFL season? Also who puts a reality show mega finale on in February and not May sweeps? And wait what the hell is a major figure skating special these days? Did I wake up and it’s 1994? Because I’d just as soon not have to relive the OJ trial again…

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    Guest2014
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    #196042

    My suggestion, Oscars?  Stop trying to be in frakking lockstep with the Indie Spirits and open the tent to have mainstream vs. the arthouse and have it a legitimate competition. Maybe then you won’t be in ratings freefall by picking movies and actors that nobody’s heard of.

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    John
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    #196043

    [quote=”jalind”]

    The second is what the other networks throw into the opposing time slot. If there’s an NFL football game on the Academy Awards show ratings share tanks badly. Put up a final mega-show for one of the major reality show programs, or a major figure skating special, and that will put a huge dent in their ratings as well.

    Ok just so we are clear, we are talking about the American Academy Awards right? The ones that air 3 weeks after the NFL season? Also who puts a reality show mega finale on in February and not May sweeps? And wait what the hell is a major figure skating special these days? Did I wake up and it’s 1994? Because I’d just as soon not have to relive the OJ trial again…

    [/quote]

    They moved the date starting in 2004 from late March to late February to get away from the NCAA Division I basketball playoffs — known as March Madness — which now has all its games being televised all day long starting in mid-March and running nearly non-stop through into the first week of April as 68 teams bracket their way down in four regions. The 2014 awards program was delayed until early March to keep the Winter Olympics from clobbering it. Don’t understimate the female audience draw of an ISU figure skating championship. Their competition season for the seniors (adults) begins at the end of this month and continues through the beginning of April with several championships. The ISU Four Continents Championship (Asia, Americas, Africa and Oceania) is usually held at the end of February, and it encompasses multiple events including exhibitions. Let a broadcast of that with popular international elite figure skaters competing – singles, pairs and ice dancing – hit at the same time as the Academy Awards show and I guarantee it will take a hit – probably not as big as the NCAA March Madness games – but it would draw off the female viewers in measurable numbers.

    John

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    tennisfreak
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    #196044

    [quote=”tennisfreak”]

    [quote=”jalind”]

    The second is what the other networks throw into the opposing time slot. If there’s an NFL football game on the Academy Awards show ratings share tanks badly. Put up a final mega-show for one of the major reality show programs, or a major figure skating special, and that will put a huge dent in their ratings as well.

    Ok just so we are clear, we are talking about the American Academy Awards right? The ones that air 3 weeks after the NFL season? Also who puts a reality show mega finale on in February and not May sweeps? And wait what the hell is a major figure skating special these days? Did I wake up and it’s 1994? Because I’d just as soon not have to relive the OJ trial again…

    [/quote]

    They moved the date starting in 2004 from late March to late February to get away from the NCAA Division I basketball playoffs — known as March Madness — which now has all its games being televised all day long starting in mid-March and running nearly non-stop through into the first week of April as 68 teams bracket their way down in four regions. The 2014 awards program was delayed until early March to keep the Winter Olympics from clobbering it. Don’t understimate the female audience draw of an ISU figure skating championship. Their competition season for the seniors (adults) begins at the end of this month and continues through the beginning of April with several championships. The ISU Four Continents Championship (Asia, Americas, Africa and Oceania) is usually held at the end of February, and it encompasses multiple events including exhibitions. Let a broadcast of that with popular international elite figure skaters competing – singles, pairs and ice dancing – hit at the same time as the Academy Awards show and I guarantee it will take a hit – probably not as big as the NCAA March Madness games – but it would draw off the female viewers in measurable numbers.

    John
    [/quote]

    Actually it was moved back to February to shorten the Awards season and also place it in sweeps for the network. And it hadn’t conflicted with the finals of the NCAA in about 20 years before that when it was the NCAA that moved back to April because the Oscars were crushing IT. As for the figure skating point, I’ve been a diehard of the sport since 1992 and I’m sorry this dog doesn’t hunt. The ratings are so bad they’re usually aired in daytime for all ISU events and the American nationals aren’t even pulling CW ratings even in an Olympic year. See this article for reference: http://articles.latimes.com/2014/feb/05/sports/la-sp-sochi-figure-skating-us-20140207 I don’t know where you are getting these ideas but they’re not backed with the slightest bit of empirical fact or reality. But then what on these boards ever is?

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    John
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    #196045

    My suggestion, Oscars?  Stop trying to be in frakking lockstep with the Indie Spirits and open the tent to have mainstream vs. the arthouse and have it a legitimate competition. Maybe then you won’t be in ratings freefall by picking movies and actors that nobody’s heard of.

    What you’re saying then is the awards nominations and the winners should be made solely on a basis of maximizing the televised awards program broadcast ratings. Will ABC cancel the Academy Awards if the ratings don’t improve?

    BTW . . . they’re not in a ratings freefall.
    John

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    Guest2014
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    #196046

    As always, John, there needs to be a second hoop mainstream Oscar contenders need to ace; that they are almost unanimously loved by CRITICS as well as fans alike.  You can have arthouse v. mainstream and it will work wonders.  It will give people a rooting interest in the Oscars again.  Three of the last 5 best pictures are the 3 least seen BP winners in Oscar history.  That needs to change. Balance.

    It’s ALL about balance.  

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