Marketing Panel Predicts Low Ratings for Oscars

Showing a list of mostly lower-marquee named thespians and their low-grossing films in the Best Actress category of the Academy Awards, a panel of media professionals predicted that the movie awards broadcast would see its lowest ratings in 15 years.

In his presentation before media and marketing professionals at the first Screenvision Imelda Staunton Insiders' Ball, Fred Nelson, vice president for editorial development at Entertainment Magazine, showed a list of movies in the Oscar Best Actress Category and the nominal box office alongside: Annette Bening ("Being Julia"), Catalina Sandino Moreno ("Maria Full of Grace"), Imelda Staunton ("Vera Drake"), Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby"), and Kate Winslet ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind").

The box office of all the movies barely totaled $75 million--a box office stinker for even one major motion picture, Nelson noted.

"Think of past years, with blockbusters from the 'Lord of the Rings Trilogy,' and look at 2004--nothing even close," Nelson said. "These movies featured great performances, but most TV viewers aren't really invested in who wins, and we haven't had a year like that in 15 years."



Nelson appeared on a panel with Morten Gotterup, senior vice president and general manager of Clearview Cinemas, a subsidiary of Cablevision and the owner of the venue where the conference took place, The Ziegfeld Theatre. Jon Kamen, chairman and CEO of production company, and James Yaffe, managing partner and co-founder of Endeavor Marketing Solutions, which puts together deals for actors and marketers. The evening was hosted by James Lipton, the face of Bravo's Inside the Actor's Studio. Screenvision, which organized the event, is a cinema advertising company.

While others mentioned the need to ensure the "organic quality" of branded entertainment deals, Gotterup mainly wondered how media consolidation would create a cannibalistic atmosphere within companies.

"My biggest competitor is my parent company, Cablevision," Gotterup said. "That makes everything harder because the competition is under one roof."

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