Update: Oscar Ratings Down 16%, Lowest in Six Years

Oscar Ratings

In updated “fast national” results from Nielsen for Sunday night, ABC’s telecast of the Academy Awards averaged 36.6 million viewers and a 10.8 rating in adults 18-49 — declines of 16% and 18% respectively from last year (43.7 million and 13.1). The total-viewer count is the event’s lowest in six years.

Despite the declines, the Oscars were the top-rated entertainment telecast in the 51 weeks since last year’s show. By comparison, the Oscars outdrew the Grammy Awards on CBS by 30% in 18-49 (10.8 vs. 8.3) and by 11.8 million total viewers (36.6 million vs. 24.8 million), and they topped the Golden Globe Awards on NBC by 86% in the demo and by 17.3 million total viewers (36.6 million vs. 19.3 million).


This year’s Oscars ceremony has joined other award shows from this television season in posting year-over-year ratings declines, down 10% in the overnights from last year’s decade-best score.

According to Nielsen overnight estimates measuring 56 of the nation’s biggest markets, last night’s “87th Annual Academy Awards” telecast on ABC, hosted by first-timer Neil Patrick Harris, averaged a 25.0 household rating/38 share, the show’s lowest rating since a 24.5 in 2011. Nielsen will issue total-viewer estimates for last night’s show later today.

Los Angeles ranked as the top-rated market for the Oscars (33.5 household rating), up 3% from last year. But key to the ratings declines overall were double-digit falloffs in both New York (down 13% to 32.4) and Chicago (down 10% to 32.5).

Last year’s show, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, averaged a 27.9 overnight household rating/41 share that translated into a 10-year best 43.74 million viewers, according to Nielsen — the third time in five years the Oscars had been above the 40-million viewer mark. And in adults 18-49, its 13.1 rating/33 share in the nationals was up a smidge from 2013 for a four-year high.

With social media driving interest, awards shows in general had been on a ratings roll. But some of the air seems to have come out of the balloon this season.

Earlier this month, the Grammy Awards on CBS (8.3 rating/23 share in adults 18-49, 24.82 million viewers overall) were down 16% in the demo and 13% in total viewers from last year for the show’s lowest numbers in six years. Still, the kudocast figures to finish the season ranked second to the Oscars among the top-rated non-football programs.

Last night’s Oscars did a 14.2 rating in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen’s LPM (Local People Meter) markets, down just slightly from last year (14.4) and solidly above the 9.9 earned by the Grammys on Feb. 8.

Adults 18-49 ratings were also lower this season for the “CMA Awards” on ABC (down 4%, 4.5 vs. 4.7), the “American Music Awards” on ABC (down 16%, 3.8 vs. 4.5) and the “Golden Globe Awards” on NBC (down 11%, 5.8 vs. 6.5).

In social media, 21 million people had 58 million interactions (posts, comments, likes) related to the Oscars on Facebook on Sunday. The top moment was Lady Gaga’s medley from “The Sound of Music” and Julie Andrews joining her on stage, which drew 214,000 per minute globally and 145,000 per minute in the States; this was also the top moment on Twitter for the night.

ABC towered over its rivals last night, with its 7 to 11 p.m. household average in the metered-market overnights more than tripling its combined CBS-NBC-Fox competition (20.4 vs. 6.6). And in adults 18-49, it drew six times those net’s combined averages (11.4 vs. 1.9).

A dearth of diversity among nominees and unfamiliarity with some of the most honored films may have contributed to the lower tune-in for the 2015 Oscars. Of this year’s best picture nominees — “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,” “The Theory of Everything,” and “Whiplash” — only “Sniper” can be considered a box office hit in North America.

“Birdman” was the big winner of the night, winning the top prize as well as others including best original screenplay and best director for Alejandro González Iñárritu.

See More: Oscar Winners 2015: Complete List



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  1. Deborah says:

    Yes I boycotted the awards. I thought you were actors. Do your job act! We don’t need you to preach or criticized our President at one of your award day. Crazy! You forget we help pay your salary.

  2. LC says:

    I thought Hollywood was calling for a strike to show us how life would be without them. When are they leaving? It’s not like they’ve given us anything new or original in the last few years. Everything is remakes and political opinions. They don’t seem to get it. We don’t care!

  3. P says:

    In all fairness my not watching had zero effect since I’ve NEVER bothered to watch any of those award shows…but if I were a viewer in previous years I would have boycotted this one. Entertainers aren’t paid to offer BS political views, they’re paid to entertain. They should keep their pie-holes shut about politics and stick to the lines in their scripts, since pretending is all they’re qualified for

  4. D says:

    People are sick of Hollywood stand on so many issues. Watch the movie houses complain that customers are dropping left and right.

  5. Sharon says:

    Yes, I boycotted and will keep boycotting the Hollywood “Snow-Flakes”. They need to grow up! Do not tell me who I should vote for. I’m an AMERICAN.

  6. Tracy Valdez says:

    Until liberal Hollywood starts to respect our president, there will be more and more decline! I and many like me refuse to give them our hard earned money! BOYCOTT HOLLYWOOD LIBERALS!

  7. E says:

    Yes, I was part of the boycott. Celebrities should not use platforms like that to spread there hate and stupidity across the world. They have the world shaking there heads at Americans. They live in nice houses and don’t live in the real world. Nobody cares about their views. We will be boycotting the movies since they want to disrespect POTUS, burn our flags. They are disgusting and deranged. Would to sit down and try to have a conversation. They can’t even to that without name calling.

  8. Yes the celebs found out just how much people are sick of all the other people that live somewhere else besides America USA.They all live in there perfect little mansions with their immigrants for maids and nannys and dont participate with the real world(our world) They wonder why everyone has a comment about there bussiness but instead of doing something to help people they think a 30 second spot on a commercial is helping someone.If you heard more storys about celebritys helping everyday people with some much needed help when they have millions of dollars lying around I guess I might have more respect for them.Hey people are hurting out here that could use your help.You cant take all the money with you try helping people!

  9. Neale Gardner says:

    The problem with those idiots in Hollywood are that they think they can control the public by making threats and attempting to close down the movie industry. They are learning a hard lesson that they don’t have the influence they think they have,,,, stupid liberals.

  10. Joanna sparks says:

    I protested by not watching the Oscars. Too much political crap coming out of actors mouths. I don’t care what they think. They don’t respect me so why should I watch them.

  11. Jina Harrell says:

    I am very proud to say I boycotted the Oscars. Actors behaving this way…they will continue to see a decline of movie goers . Most are so incredibly overrated. Actors back in “the day” really knew how to act, not anymore.

  12. Patti Wood says:

    I am at the point U won’t watch TV or movies of anyone who continues to disrespect our president, no matter who it is!! This country needs to pull together to be strong, and Hollywood needs to set a good example instead of acting like Asses!

  13. dru says:

    I refuse to watch any award shows again. I refuse to attend a movie again.I will never attend.any performance of anyone making.fun of president trump.

  14. patricia a casale says:

    These people should stick to what they do best, reading what other people write for them. The ego of most of these actors is beyond comprehension.

  15. Jack says:

    Oscars is no longer an award show. It’s Hollywood trying to ram their politics down the viewers’ throats.

  16. Cathy says:

    I have boycotted all their awards event’s..I will not watch spoiled adults who think they are better than the rest of us and think they are privileged.. their job is to entertain the public.. not be political..if they want to be in politics do so.. but don’t be stupid about it..we didn’t like what OBOMMA did during his term so I think they can deal with TRUMP for 4 years. GROW UP!

  17. Victoria says:

    So glad I missed this trash. Miss the good ole days with Sasheen Little Feather and Bob Hope

  18. Visually, it was very boring. The pace was extremely slow and I think I turned Oscar’s off when The Weekend was about to sing. His voice is grating, not great. Why have color tv if its black, white and gold? Chris Rock was okay but his opening was too long. I miss Billy Crystal song and dance stuff.

  19. GINA CORCORAN says:


  20. Tu says:

    Too many damn commercials have ruined virtually all television. This trend will continue across the board until there are no viewers left.

  21. Movies these days are nothing but special effects and remakes. Also, I agree with too many political actors. I only see the politics and not the character they are portraying.

  22. Who are these proverbial 19 year olds who come up with this ridiculous age group by which to measure audience watching? Boy, have they missed the boat! 18 – 49 year olds? REALLY — ARE YOU GUYS THAT &%$#ing DUMB???!!! Sure, we know the media is – they have been (that dumb) for a long time – which is why they don’t question the age the viewership is measured by. Your audience is aging out. Baby boomers watch more TV than any other age. We were 49 years old awhile ago, but we still watch the awards (maybe not until the end when they get so boring they simply put us to sleep). We have more money to spend than any other age group, yet are pretty much completely ignored by advertising agencies – and TV producers. The age group that is being used to measure viewership is riduculous – and needs to be changed to get real numbers just as much as being a much better job with the diveristy of the nominees. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS WHOLE &%$@ing PICTURE?!!!

  23. Caroline says:

    I think it was a drop in The Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes because they weren’t very inclusive with nominees. It was a movement to not watch the Oscars this year on social media because of the lack of diversity in nominations. I noticed when it was announced last year Beyoncé would open the Grammys the ratings were good. This year, it was hardly any black acts, and they saved Beyoncé for last. Many of the acts that proceeded her just wouldn’t hold the interest of a racially diverse audience. I was following the Grammys on Twitter, and many people switched back and forth until Beyoncé came on. It didn’t help the Grammys credibility that Beyoncé as the favorite didn’t win Album of the Year as most people thought she would. I wouldn’t be surprise to see more of a drop in the future if it’s lack of diversity in nominees and winners at these award shows.

  24. Mary H says:

    The decline in viewing the oscars is also due to the ABC dispute with Direct TV. So I did not get to see the Oscars.

  25. Jake says:

    Lot of dorks commenting. I’ll be one of them. I think Social Media has a LOT to do with why the Oscars aren’t as successful as they once were. The Oscars used to be the time when you got to see your favorite celebrities. However, today, we can follow our favorite celebrities on a daily basis with social media. (especially the celebrities that use twitter, instagram, etc….) The second the Oscars are over, you can find out on the internet EXACTLY who won in each category without spending 7 hours watching the show. If something “memorable” happens during the oscars, you can guarantee that particular scene will be on Youtube within an hour of it actually happening. Again, you can click and find this scene without watching the entire show. Social Media is killing the Oscars. Producers need to reformat the show to get people to actually watch. It needs to be way more entertaining. Why watch the snoozefest when you can get what you want in SECONDS after the show is over?

  26. C says:

    A bunch of rich people celebrating themselves. People have other things on their minds, The Walking Dead being one of them.

  27. jake says:

    Neil patrick was not the problem…number one were are starting to see the age gap….the generation does not care about Oscars…nor will you see youth under 35 lined up to see Birdman?? Maybe if Hobbit, Unbroken, Marvel, and Hunger Games were added more ppl would watch….Walking Dead was the only thing on my mind during Oscars…

  28. Pam says:

    I personally didn’t watch on principal, the academy didn’t nominate any movies I saw. They shut out Angelinas Unbroken, which was a wonderful movie. They shut out the Hobbit and Hunger games, big mistake.

  29. henry blair says:

    I suspect the reduction in Oscar viewership was caused by a certain PBS/BBC potboiler – super popular with the ladies!

  30. Drew says:

    Well . . . My “theory” is that there were just not enough GOOD movies to have people invested in caring about the results. Just not a good year at the cinema – plain and simple! Summer schedule was light and winter nearly barren [Imitation Game was brilliant] . . . winter is when I plan to binge and there was not even mediocre movies [which I often will do just to go and get out]. Boy – when Hollywood has a hard time drawing me out of the winter hibernation because they can’t even put out a mediocre plot worth my attention to fight the boredom [and TV is upping their game] – that does not say much good for the leadership of the studios! LESS is more . . . Less effects and MORE Character driven stories PLEASE!!!!

  31. irisvillagegirl says:

    Just sick and tired of their politics. Not very entertaining. I won’t watch again.

  32. POnix says:

    Oscar is losing his credibility, and have nothing to be with NPH or the host!
    Looking for the diversity of being “politically correct” are doing of Hollywood a “foreign country”. Why USA don’t support your own talent!? Face your own history!? …In Latin America our roots are strong.
    The Oscar and american awards have a double standar: The honors go to “artistic” movies who nobody see, underestimating Studios films who make the starts with marketing. The ceremony and winners are predictable and mostly undeserved.
    P.S: Who is going to understand the underwear “joke” if anybody have seen the movie!? The awards is always to one time actors, who play the disability, sick or damage character. It´s what hollywood have to show!? Acting is just that!?
    I give up with the american view of art, years ago… As a theater actress, is superficial and lacking in background!

  33. Nanci Lenoci says:

    Neil did an nice job. Poor timing on the “balls” joke. But anyway he put a lot into it. My husband and I felt Ellen did a fabulous job last year and we would really love to see her back. If not her, how about Hugh Jackman or Billy Crystal? Thanks for all your hard work Neil!!

  34. Dominick Allen says:

    This is most likely due to hearing actors view ignorant lefty opinions. They should stick to what they know and act as people who actually mattered.

    There is a big disconnect with the oscars and those who go to the oscars and the rest of the country.

  35. Ricardo says:

    Bring back Billy Crystal.

  36. KeithSoWhite says:

    It felt more like watching the MSNBC awards with all that ‘forward’ slant.

    I thought Ellen was a mistake last year (Who knows why those people who watched last year didn’t come back this year, but it could be because Ellen turned them off last year) , and I think continuing on with the politics this year was a mistake. Especially the transparent attempt to create a moment that riles up Hispanics.

    • Huh? says:

      Do you think there was another film that was clearly better, or that the director shouldn’t acknowledge the issues in his country and their neighbor to the north? This wasn’t a year of truly great films, and Birdman and Boyhood were interesting artistic works from a technical perspective (definitely not story though).

      • Roger Wabbit says:

        huh? Ellen was the funniest, most dynamic host they’ve had in many years. Her pizza gag hit it out of the park – NPH was lame in comparison and his loooong running joke about Octavia Spencer keeping an eye on “his” predictions was as flat as Sean Penn’s tasteless immigration joke.

  37. It was disgusting when the host came out wearing just his underwear! Is that all the producer or the writer could come up with…..”Come On…..Pleaseeee” I guess everything is fair game these days….OUR MOREL STANDARDS ARE NO MORE!!!!….I will never watch the Oscars again!

    • By the way, Marlene, it’s spelled ‘moral.’ If you can’t spell it right, are you really upholding it?

    • Nanci Lenoci says:

      It was from a movie!!!! Weren’t you paying attention??? Lol

    • cadavra says:

      All these people complaining about the underwear gag. Did it never occur to you that it was a direct reference to one of the nominated (and eventually winning) pictures that you clearly couldn’t be bothered to see? Don’t watch the Oscars if you don’t care about the movies!

      • Elian Gonzalez says:

        No, because many people did not *see* “Birdman” to get the alleged joke. It’s an inside joke at best.

  38. Sandy says:

    How truly uninspiring, arrogant, and boring.. and, frankly, I didn’t find humor in the hosts underwear
    routine either. After more years than I care to count, watching every year.. that was the last. If you can’t
    garner enough (recognized) talent than the likes of Sean Penn and his not funny sarcasm, or produce
    a fabulous, classy, entertaining production for being.. well, THE entertainment business, nor pay tribute to all those whom we remember, than it’s time to say farewell, finis, adieu, and wrap. Hollywood,
    and it’s ilk should watch more classics to see how it’s done.

    • SherryMarion says:

      All of Birdman was an inside joke.

    • Kristi says:

      I thought NPH did an excellent job. I saw all the best picture nominees and thought they were all good but none were great, aka a classic. Boyhood was unique but long, Birdman was showbiz based. Historicals and bios are popular vote getters. Madea will never get nominated and sci if movies won’t win costume.

  39. Kenneth says:

    I think the same thing happened with the Grammys this year. Very few hip-hop and R&B acts were nominated for big awards. People want to feel their art and culture is appreciated and rewarded. Surprise these award shows haven’t gotten the message yet.

  40. Kenneth says:

    Many black people probably watched last year because it was a legitimate chance that actors, actresses and movies associated with the black experience had a chance of winning. But this year with Golden Globes and DGA slighting Selma and no black people were nominated for the big categories, besides Best Picture, which is producers awards. I heard many say they weren’t going to watch. It seemed like that bared out to be true.

    • Nanci Lenoci says:

      I am curious why they don’t want to watch? The Acadamy Awards are for all races and the nominees are nominated by members of the academy itself who are made up of all races.

  41. Chas says:

    The complications for so many with severe current weather/ the effects of climate change along South and North East, limits watching routine TV. So many are under stress and distraction, let alone calmly watching the Oscar awards.

  42. Dawn Piazzi says:

    Just too long and too late on a ‘work night’. Maybe less of the lame chatter by the presenters would help. I like the political/social justice statements. I like the musical numbers ( the Lego number was awesome! I’ve never really wanted an oscar but I would LOVE a lego oscar!) Seriously the red carpet is interesting but not so much of it.
    This year the presenters and NPH all seemed unprepared. I went to bed before the end – the part I really wanted to see.

  43. Julienne says:

    The more A.M.P.A.S. allows Political Statements to be made, the less viewers will tune in. The General Public is tired of the accusations and pleas for faux causes. NO MORE Political Speeches!

  44. Kenneth Kurtz says:

    Well I thoroughly enjoyed the entire show, NPH did a bang up job, with the exception of the lock box thing that did sort of bomb. He got in a couple digs, could have had a little more interaction with the live audience. If you didn’t see “Birdman” the underwear thing didn’t make sense to you. The fashion was fabulous, not nearly as many misses as usual. ALL of the songs with the exception of the Lego Movie one were fabulous and presented very well. I like the political statements, those are the sort of things that live on after the show, and show that actors are not just self absorbed egomaniacs. I didn’t like Birdman, is was an actors movie made for other actors, and those are the one that vote, it is not the Peoples Choice awards. The moment with Lady Gaga and Dame Julia Andrews was a true moment. They need to get more of the living legends as presenters. Whoever missed Joan Rivers for the tribute should be shot…beyond a big boo boo! All in all, it was a very delightful evening..


    It’s interesting to note the consistent decline in ratings for not only the Oscars, but also the Golden Globes, and Grammy’s. Award shows that consistently are seen as only rewarding one set of people for major awards, white people, particularly white men, and one set of behaviors, that of homosexuals. Perhaps that is why the rest of society is tuning out these award shows in droves. I look forward to seeing the Emmys reach an all time low in September, lol.

    • chiedu13 says:

      Sorry FAILURE, but don’t blame the focus on LGBT issues for this year’s decline. Last year’s highly rated Oscars were hosted by a lesbian and the Best Supporting Actor win went to an actor playing a drag queen in a film about AIDS. If anything, the Oscars were gayer last year. But they were also far more diverse. I and many people I know didn’t tune in this year. Not to protest, but because I just wasn’t interested in a bunch of films about white men and their problems.

  46. I usually enjoy the OSCARS, but this year I could’nt stay awake…Neil Patrick Harris–while uber talented–was a real disappointment in this venue. bring back Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, or Ellen…

  47. Frederic Salgado says:

    The Oscars last night was a 3 hour tolerance test and it was a gruelling snoozefest. Neil was terrible as a host. The whole lock box gimmick went on too long. Robert Duvall had that look of what is going on here I thought I was at the academy awards. Just plain dull and no real big surprises accept that Birdman won best picture… WHY???

  48. highhardheat says:

    Nobody wants to watch a show with Neil P Harris in his underwear.

    • Julienne says:

      Thank you! Boring

      • gary love says:

        Speaking of boring… “Boyhood” should have been titled “BOREHOOD!” ALMOST THREE HOURS OF WATCHING A BORING KID AND HIS HOMELY SISTER ALONG WITH A MOTHER WHO WAS A WEAK, SNIFFLING BORE! Do not be duped into thinking this was art. It was a waste of 12 years to follow this kid to the inevitable conclusion….he can’t act. I wasted 15 bucks and a portion of my sore butt watching this stinker. There is definitely a disconnect between Hollywood and the rest of America. I saw all of the nominated films and would only reccomend the “Imitation Game.” No wonder nobody watched the Oscars last night. 2014 was a bad year for Hollywood and my aching back.

  49. Greg Zymet says:

    Our regular TV feed has been down and I assumed I could stream it, but they didn’t make it easy. I was one who wanted to see it and couldn’t. Only pay cable subscribers in certain cities with certain carriers could view it. Everyone else had to catch it on ABC or not at all. This doesn’t seem smart.

    A lot of the younger dynamic (the one’s they say they’re trying to attract) has cut the cord and are use to getting things via internet. If they want these viewers as well as the others who fall through the cracks (such as folks in rural areas/countries), they should make it as easy as possible to watch.

    I understand they don’t make as much add revenue for streaming, but why couldn’t they just make available the telecast that’s airing for free on ABC? I would have gladly watched all the commercials that aired on live TV on a stream had I been given a choice. Alternatively, I would have also paid a reasonable “rental” fee (via iTunes) if that was a choice but it wasn’t. They need to be more savvy next year and make it more easily available.

    The ABC “backstage” pass was worthless. Is there anyone out there who would tune into the Superbowl to watch the audience’s reaction over idol chatter? You tune into the Superbowl to watch the game. Same goes with the Oscars.

    So sad I missed it.

  50. Marian Luanne says:

    I don’t think the movies were boring.. I think not many of them were entertaining.. To quote Sydney Pollack in Tootsie: “Nobody wants to see a play about living next to chemical waste — they can do that in New Jersey”. All the movies, although they may have excellent messages, are things we see every day on TV or in the newspaper.. Very depressing.. I feel they need some diversity in film types — some comedy I think..

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