Despite ad inventory sell out, Oscars sees lowest viewership count in history

Following its advertisement inventory buy out, the Oscars met with its biggest decline in viewership count this year, reported media outlets such as CNBC. The show saw a near 59% drop from the 23.6 million viewers the award show garnered in 2020. The numbers released by Nielsen, reported on media sites, say that only 9.85 million viewers tuned in to the award show that aired on 25 April, has received various comments from netizens on twitter explaining why they did not tune in. 

One tweet even expressed how the viewership count this year was "not at all surprising" and that it was "thoroughly dull to the point of being unwatchable". Another tweet shared how they would "NOT watch #TheOscars" and that they "haven't watched award shows for at least the last decade".

CNBC reported that the drop in the viewership was "not entirely surprising" given award shows in general have faced declining viewership in recent years. Reports from Nielsen revealed in 2020, 23.6 million watched the telecast, which was a massive drop from 2019's 29.6 million viewers. In 2018, the number stood at 26.5 million. This year’s Oscars also saw a delay in the ceremony, with it normally being held in February.

This follows the sell out of all of its ad inventory just three days before the event. Some of the advertisers for this year’s show include names such as Expedia, Verizon, General Motor's Cadillac, Starbucks, Google, Rolex, Verizon, AARP, Adidas International, Apple, Corona, Eli Lilly, GSK, Honda, Kellogg, Keurig, Mars, Procter & Gamble, Power to the Patient, and Subway, among others.

According to Variety, ABC was charging US$2 million for every 30-second ad. Meanwhile, media reports also say that this year's show also attracted several first time advertisers such as Airbnb, Grey Goose,, Accenture, Freshpet and Credit Karma.  Jerry Danillo, senior vice president, entertainment brand solutions, for Disney Advertising Sales, confirmed that the ad inventories were sold out in an interview with Variety earlier this week and also explained to that some of the first time advertisers were “COVID-thriving brands.” He also added that one of the challenges for the Oscars this year was in figuring out what the show would look like. 

Despite its success, some  previous advertisers who will not be returning this year include Microsoft, Indeed and Molson Coors-owned Peroni will not be returning this year.

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