All the glitz and glamour of the 90th annual Academy Awards was not enough to overcome a cool reception from U.S. audiences. Variety reported Monday morning that the Nielsen overnight ratings for the scheduled three-hour prime-time broadcast that ran to almost four hours dropped 16% year over year.
The data are not adjusted to account for the 5:00 p.m. start time for the show on the West Coast, well outside the prime time window. The overnight ratings also do not include the 48 minutes the program ran over its time slot in the Eastern time zone. Those were the minutes when the top awards for acting and movie were announced.
According to Variety, the 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. portion of the broadcast drew an average household rating of 18.9 and a 32% share of the overnight ratings. That was 16% lower than last year’s 22.5 household rating and 47% share. Deadline Hollywood noted that the 18.9 rating was a nine-year low.
The ABC network broadcast was still the clear ratings winner Sunday evening. The network drew an average 5.8 rating and 22.4 million viewers, compared to NBC’s average rating of 0.6 and 2.7 million viewers, while CBS and Fox each rang up a rating of 0.5, as well as 4.5 million viewers for CBS and 1.7 million for Fox.
While critics amateur and professional rake over the highs and lows of the broadcast, the fact remains not only that the show drew fewer viewers than last year, but that none of the other broadcast networks appear to have picked up the slack.
What would be interesting to figure out is how many Americans were watching a movie or TV show on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon. After the Netflix-produced documentary about the Russian Olympic team cheating scandal, “Icarus,” won the Oscar as the year’s best documentary, how many people left the awards show to watch the documentary?
As it turns out, they could still have come back later to watch the last half of the Oscar broadcast.