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Oscars Ratings Hit Eight-Year Low

(CNS) Posted: Monday, February 29, 2016 – 3:38 PM

Viewership for ABC’s Oscars telecast was the smallest since 2008, averaging 34.3 million viewers, according to preliminary figures released today by Nielsen.

The audience for Sunday’s ceremony hosted by comedian Chris Rock at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood was 6.3 percent smaller than the preliminary 36.6- million average for last year’s ceremony hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris.

Final figures are scheduled to be released Tuesday, but are not expected to change significantly from those released today. Last year’s ceremony averaged 37.26 million viewers, the lowest since 2009.

Despite the decrease, the audience was the largest for an entertainment program since last year’s Academy Awards telecast. The Oscars are traditionally television’s most-watched entertainment program of the year.   Nearly 58 million people watched at least six minutes of the telecast from the Dolby Theatre, 8.1 percent less than last year’s 63 million.

Viewership was up 1 percent among viewers ages 18-34, with a 9.4 rating compared to a 9.3 rating.

Viewership was also up among all male demographic groups. There was a 20 percent increase among men ages 18 to 34 (growing from a 7.1 rating to 8.5); a 6 percent increase among men ages 18 to 49 (8.9 to 9.4); and men ages 25 to 54 (10.2 to 10.3)

The rating is the average percentage of total viewers or a particular group watching.

For ratings purposes, the ceremony is considered to have run for three hours, 21 minutes, the longest since at least 2007, which ran eight minutes longer. Under Nielsen rules, the ratings cover the time from the start of the ceremony until the end of the final commercial break.

The most-watched Oscar ceremony was in 1998, when an average of 55.25 million viewers watched then-box office record-setter “Titanic” win the best picture Oscar and actor Billy Crystal was the host. Individual viewership figures began being kept in 1974.

Viewership for most forms of programming have decreased in recent years because of increased competition for viewers attention from cable television, the Internet, viewing programming recorded earlier and video games.

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