Oscar ratings reach record low in the U.S.

American television viewers could barely stifle a yawn for Hollywood’s biggest night, with the Academy Awards plunging to a record-low viewership of 26.5 million people in the U.S.

The numbers were also down in Canada from last year, with an average of 4.5 million people watching on CTV, the broadcaster said Monday citing preliminary data from ratings tracker Numeris. 

In the U.S., the Nielsen company said that’s a 20 per cent drop from the 33 million who watched the 2017 show, which was also hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Oscar viewership is often tied to the box office muscle of the big nominees, and best picture winner The Shape of Water only grossed $57.4 million in the United States.

It’s the first time the Oscars have drawn fewer than 30 million people, in Nielsen records that go back to 1974. The Academy Awards are often the most-watched television program of the year after the Super Bowl, but this year’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony from Pyeongchang reached 27.8 million. 

The previous low-water mark for the Oscars came in 2008, when No Country For Old Men won best picture.

Only four years ago, the Oscars reached nearly 44 million viewers. The biggest Academy Awards audience on record came in 1998, when the blockbuster Titanic was named best picture.

Despite the dip in viewership, the Academy Awards can keep bragging rights over other awards shows. The Golden Globes reached 19 million viewers in January and the Grammys had an audience of 19.8 million, Nielsen said. 

In Canada, CTV said the award show peaked with 5.6 million viewers when Allison Janney accepted her supporting actress award.

Last year, CTV drew an average of 5.5 million viewers, according to Numeris. For the 2017 show, the company said viewership peaked with 6.7 million viewers as Mahershala Ali accepted his Oscar for best supporting actor, the first award of the night. 


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