UPDATE: In final same-night national estimates released Tuesday by Nielsen, the Oscars rose to a 13.1 rating/33 share in adults 18-49 and 43.74 million viewers overall — up vs. the 2013 show by a smidge in the demo (from 13.0) and by 10% in total viewers. That makes it the top Oscars in four years among adults 18-49 and in 14 years in total viewers.
In other demos, the Ellen DeGeneres-hosted kudocast hit 7-year highs in men 18-34 (up 6% vs. last year to 9.5/30) and adults 18-34 (up 3% to 11.6/33), an 8-year high in kids 2-11 (3.6/15) and a 9-year best in teens 12-17 (up 13% to 7.1/25).
Awards shows like the Oscars continue to thrive in the social media era, with Sunday’s telecast hitting a 10-year high in overall viewership.
The 86th Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, averaged a 12.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 43 million viewers overall, according to time zone-adjusted preliminary Nielsen estimates. In recent years, only NFL playoff games have fared better in the ratings.
And among all entertainment programs, Sunday’s Oscars drew the largest audience on any network since the finale of “Friends” in May 2004.
Sunday’s kudocast was virtually flat vs. last year’s Seth MacFarlane-hosted show in the 18-49 demo (13.0) and up 6% in total viewers (from 40.4); last year had hit a three-year high in total viewers. It was also up nearly 3 million viewers from DeGeneres’ previous stint as host, in 2007 (40.2 million).
Since the 2008 kudocast hosted by Jon Stewart, which drew a record low 32.01 million viewers, the Oscars have now drawn at least 40 million three times in the last six years.
Perhaps the biggest surprise among the demos was that this year’s show hit a seven-year high in men 18-34 (9.4 rating), up 4% from last year with MacFarlane (9.0).
The top stations in the overnight household rating/share were WABC in New York (37.1/52), KABC in Los Angeles (32.6/49), WLS in Chicago (36.0/53), WPVI in Philadelphia (30.9/43) and WFAA in Dallas (26.3/37). Seven of the 10 largest U.S. markets showed an increase, with the biggest gains coming in Houston (KTRK was up 24% to 24.1) and Dallas (up 16%).
In adults 18-49, the top local-market scores came from New York (21.9/47), Chicago (18.8/44), Washington D.C. (18.1/40), San Francisco (17.6/53) and Los Angeles (17.6/48).
The highest-rated alternative to the Oscars on Sunday figured to be AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” though early numbers weren’t available. On the broadcast side, the top shows were CBS’ “The Amazing Race” (1.5 rating/4 share in adults 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) and “60 Minutes” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), according to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen.
ABC followed up the kudocast with a special episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which shot up about 20% year-over-year in both adults 18-49 (to 2.42 million) and total viewers (to 6.99 million) for its best-ever post-Oscars performance. These are also the best numbers for any single-day “JKL” telecast in either latenight or primetime.
In New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, “JKL: After the Oscars” outperformed the final telecast of NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and the post-Olympics debut of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in both households and adults 18-49.
In social media Sunday night, Twitter said there were more than 14.7 million Tweets around the world during the Oscar telecast. The most tweeted-about nominees of the evening were Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Alfonso Cuaron, Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock.
Facebook found that 11.1 million people had over 25.4 million interactions (posts, comments and likes) on Sunday. The top social moments on the site were “12 Years a Slave” winning best picture; Jared Leto winning for supporting actor; and Matthew McConaughey winning the top actor prize.