Viewership has been trending downward for the Oscars, and on Sunday night it hit a new low. The 92nd Academy Awards had its lowest ratings ever, bringing in on 23.6 million viewers.
That’s down 6 million sets of eyes from last year.
So why are the Oscars struggling so mightily of late? Is it the stodgy nature of the program, one that directors have actively tried to punch up in recent years to attract a younger audience? Or is it the lack of diversity in nominees, or the influx of people who are using streaming services instead of traditionally tracked Nielsen devices?
Whatever the root cause, it’s clear that the Oscars have fallen out of favor. The Academy Awards lack the over-the-top, alcohol-influenced comedic chaos of the Golden Globes, and never do match the musical entertainment factor of the Grammys. It’s a very buttoned-up, black tie affair that doesn’t naturally lend itself to audience entertainment—especially since for many, the main reason for tuning in is simply to see who won.
That information is now readily available on social media the moment it breaks.
So what are the Oscars to do? Run-time and entertainment value are definite factors, and in order to stop the bleeding of viewership, the directors must draw in a younger audience. The Academy Awards are a hallmark of American pop culture, so it’s admittedly difficult to see them struggling. It’s not dire yet, but it’s apparent that changes need to be made to reel in new viewers, and reengage traditional viewers who look forward to the Oscars every year.