We’re just under two days away from this year’s Academy Awards and no-one is quite sure just what to expect from this year’s hostless show which also boasts arguably the widest open Best Picture field in a decade.
A close eye is being kept on the show’s ratings which it’s hoped will be significant – especially in this age of dwindling viewership. However Deadline reports today that broadcaster ABC has had to come up with some guarantees to keep those who pay calm.
Specifically, the Disney-owned network has reportedly been forced to guarantee a ratings threshold – a guarantee that was apparently put in place even before the host and category controversies that have plagued the ceremony since the New Year.
A source tells the trade: “The Oscars are still a very big deal, but people aren’t stupid, and year after year of declining ratings are getting us to a danger zone. We are right on the edge of that danger zone – not close, but on it – and that makes advertisers very nervous.”
2018’s Oscars snagged 26.5 million viewers and a weakened 6.8/24 among adults 18-49 – down 19% on the year before. it’s expected this year’s show won’t drop below the thresholds but that they are even in place is “a wake-up call”.
ABC has rejected the notion that it has put any kind of numbers forward, even a conservative threshold. The network reportedly pays over $85 million annually for the ceremony and sold $149 million in ad inventory during it last year alone. Thirty-second spots during this year’s broadcast were available for nearly $2.2 million with the inventory selling out by early February.