The Oscars have historically been dubbed "the Super Bowl for women." The point being that the Oscars telecast has delivered a heavy female, upscale audience which has been alluring for brands trying to reach that segment. Many brands targeting females have used the Oscars for product launches, new campaign introductions, and event tie-ins.
It appears the Oscars delivery of this audience may be waning due to the Academy Awards' reliance upon small audience films as award finalists.
One example is Frost/Nixon. Critics loved the film. But, its box office take to date is a paltry $17M. Contrast that to The Dark Knight, the second highest grossing film of all time but aced out of Oscar contention, with the exception of Heath Ledger's nomination.
In 1998, Titanic won Best Picture versus other well-attended films like L.A. Confidential, Good Will Hunting, and As Good As It Gets. Consequently, ratings for the Oscars broadcast were high with 57 million plus people tuning in.
Last year, nominated films included There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton and Juno. All told, the nominated films had only $356 million in domestic grosses. The TV result? Only 31.76 million viewers watched last year's telecast.
Don't expect a large audience this year given the aforementioned Frost/Nixon plus films like Slumdog Millionaire, Milk and The Reader up for Best Picture. The combined gross of all Best Picture nominees is only $275 million.
Stay tuned to this blog--we'll track viewership but it could very easily fall around or below 25 million this weekend. That would mean that the audience delivery of the Oscars is roughly 25-30% of that delivered by the Super Bowl--this years Pittsburgh-Arizona game was watched by 95.4 million people.