Sports, news and entertainment awards content all offer valuable and less-valued moments. Premium content doesn’t always lead to premium results -- although premium advertising dollars will always chase that promise.
The king of all trophy-based entertainment awards shows, “The Oscars” on ABC Television Network, took another massive hit this year, down 60% -- to 9.8 million viewers from 23.6 million viewers a year ago.
This isn’t out of line. Other entertainment awards shows this season also crumbled. The “Grammys” was down 51%, while the “Golden Globes” lost 62% and the “SAG Awards” dropped 52%.
Blame a lot of this on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, national TV advertisers might be hard-pressed to make sense of a TV show that attracts 10 million viewers, when they may have spent some $2 million for a 30-second commercial.
Should we even talk about “audience deficiency units” -- or do we just take our lumps, change the conversation and get back to work?
Sure, some of this is part of an ongoing broadcast ratings erosion, leaving marketers with fewer choices for big brand awareness. Still, these sizable shocks to the TV ecosystem have long-term implications.
Good news for marketers -- the Oscar advertising load for the 150-minute show remained steady at around 40-43 minutes collectively -- depending on your favorite estimate.
Not bad, and not much controversy. There was less excitement and awareness of these pandemic-disrupted films. The not-so-good news -- a smaller, live audience, following in the footsteps of other award shows.
No matter. Big-name marketers continue to seek out live TV viewing: Cadillac, Verizon, Rolex and Google have been top sponsors over the past two years.
The Academy also switched things around this year. Instead of ending the show with the best picture award, it left viewers with the best actress and best actor awards.
Rumor had it that the Academy was positioning best actor to be the final award, given the strong probability that the late Chadwick Boseman would win. It's somewhat of a big storybook ending.
But the big emotional ending went in a different direction. Anthony Hopkins, who wasn't in attendance, won for “The Father.” Later on, Hopkins sent thanks for the award and praised and honored Boseman.
Reality sent in for TV viewers. This was a live awards show with unpredictable results in an unusual time. And, for TV business executives, some, but not a lot, of clarity as well.