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Oscars ceremony disappoints

News, 25 February 2015

LOS ANGELES: The recent Academy Awards ceremony remains the top-rated entertainment telecast in the US, although viewing figures were 16% down on the previous year and the number of tweets almost halved.

The organisers had hoped to repeat the success of 2014 when 43.7m people tuned in, according to figures from Nielsen, but in the event only 36.6m did so.

Last month there was much comment about the Super Bowl commanding $4.5m for a 30-second slot, and while $1.95m for an Oscars slot was cheaper up front, it worked out rather more expensive in terms of viewers reached: one ad dollar at the Super Bowl reached 25.4 viewers, the Oscar equivalent was 18.7.

Nor was the excitement of last year's selfie posted on Twitter by host Ellen de Generes repeated, as the number of tweets fell 47% from 11.6m to 5.9m.

Without such a "meme-producing moment", said Marketing Land, "brands had to generate their own viral energy".

Among those successfully doing so were Dove and Lego, the former with a campaign – #SpeakBeautiful – against negative comments about women's body image, the latter with an Oscar statue made of Lego which it handed out to people coming off the stage.

Google was also active with a real-time marketing campaign. The internet giant reported that past search trends showed that during awards shows interest in the winners lasts only around 15 minutes, or the time it takes for the next award to be announced.

So it promoted links to buy and stream winning films just moments after the stars had accepted their awards. It declined to say, however, how many movie sales it had generated this way.

Observers put forward a number of explanations for this year's poor viewing figures, including a lacklustre performance by the show's host and a lack of major box office hits among the nominees.

Data sourced from Variety, International Business Times, Marketing Land, Ad Week; additional content by Warc staff