Amid a massive viewership freefall, the Oscars may get a bit cheaper for advertisers. Disney’s head of ad sales Rita Ferro hinted Tuesday morning they may mark down the cost for advertisers who want to buy commercial time during the annual awards show.
“We were seeing a hard impact on the performance this year of the Oscars, given the reality of movies in theaters and the movie going audience being able to actually see all those movies. But we are so excited about the amount of movie titles that have been slated to be in theaters in this year, and we’re very excited about what that opportunity is going to create around fandom and people getting back to normal and being able to see the films that get nominated,” Ferro said during Disney’s upfront press briefing. “There’s no question that we will look at all of the sponsorships across all of our business going forward and make sure that they reflect the potential and the audience and the impact that they drive. But live continues to be an important strategy for us.”
The Oscars are among the most expensive ad buy on TV, with 30-second spots costing marketers more than $2 million. The Academy Awards are generally considered the second most-watched primetime telecast of the year, every year, but that was certainly not the case this year.
The 93rd annual Academy Awards drew 10.4 million total viewers and a 2.1 rating/14 share in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic on April 25 (airing two months later than usual). Those numbers include out-of-home viewing, and are down -56% in viewers (vs. 23.6 million total viewers in 2020) and 60.4% in ratings (vs. a 5.3 rating) from the 2020 show.
Both the rating and total-viewer tally are new record lows for the Oscars telecast, which hit its previous all-time lows with last year’s show, a telecast that aired before COVID-19 interfered with live awards shows (and the traditional release of movies in theaters).
Ferro is hopeful that next year’s Oscars will have a bit of a bounce back: “Being at the Oscars, being on the red carpet and having all of that come back will be a tremendous opportunity to get fans and clients back together again, to see the best in film entertainment. So we’re looking forward to the Oscars next year.”