23 October 2021 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Oscars 2021: Viewing ratings for 93rd Academy Awards down 58% from last year
27 Apr 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Oscars Ceremony
Winners of the 93rd edition of the Academy Awards were broadcast live on ABC from two locations in Los Angeles this year - Union Station and Dolby Theatre.

According to Variety, Nielsen Live+Same Day preliminary national numbers in the US estimate that an average of 9.85 million viewers tuned in on Sunday night to watch a dressed down version of the Oscars.

These figures marked a 58.3% drop-off from last year, which translates to a roughly 13.75 million smaller audience. Furthermore, Variety have reported that the ceremony scored a 1.9 rating among adults aged 18-49 in the fast national ratings, marking a 64.2% drop from 2020. In comparison, the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony had an audience of 23.6 million viewers on the same fast national ratings chart, while earning a 5.3 rating across key demographics.

At the same time, one can argue that after a year which has seen cinemas screens mostly closed around the world and major studios delay their release schedules, it is no real surprise that a drop in ratings has incurred on an awards ceremony restricted by production limitations and the overall impacts of COVID.

However, this trend is not exclusive to the pandemic. Prior to 2020, viewing figures for the Oscars were already experiencing a sharp decline; the more concerning aspect is the dip in audience ratings over the past two years, particularly those aged 18-49. 

For context, the 91st Academy Awards (2019) recorded an audience of 29.6 million viewers and achieved a rating of 7.7 in adults aged 18-49; a stark difference to the corresponding 2021 ratings of 1.9.

Another cause for concern is that, at the time, the 2019 show earned the second smallest recorded audience in its history. The lowest being The Academy’s 90th edition in 2018, which recorded a viewership of 26.5 million viewers. Meaning that three of the past four year's have seen the Oscars ceremony return its worst viewing figures in the history of the television show.

This trend is not unique to the Oscars, however. The 2021 Golden Globes also recorded noticeable low metrics with 6.9 million viewers tuning in and adults aged 18-49 giving the show a rating of 1.5, while also seeing rating slide in years previous. The 63rd Grammy Awards also marked its lowest ever rating with the show recording a 53% drop in rating from its 2020 ceremony.

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