According to a report by Deadline, sponsors of this year’s Oscars broadcast are so concerned about viewership that they’ve requested that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences give them ratings threshold guarantees.
“[T]he Disney-owned network found itself forced to guarantee a ratings threshold to keep the deepest-pocketed buyers happy.”
For almost a decade, Oscars eyeballs have been dwindling.
The Academy Awards may not be all the way in the toilet, but they’re perching with slipper shoes.
“The Oscars are still a very big deal, but people aren’t stupid, and year after year of declining ratings are getting us to a danger zone,” an insider told Deadline of the need for the guarantees after several years of record-low demo and viewership results for the Academy Awards.
“We are right on the edge of that danger zone — not close, but on it — and that makes advertisers very nervous,” the source added, noting it was long-term advertisers such as car companies, beer companies and consumer technology companies that got the threshold guarantees and the make-goods baked in if necessary.
And the ratings issue was there, before questions of who would host this year arose:
Even before the host and category chaos that have hobbled the ceremony in recent weeks, the Disney-owned network found itself forced to guarantee a ratings threshold to keep the deepest-pocketed buyers happy.
Disney’s trying to re-arrange in order to improve the situation for advertisers:
Jerry Daniello, senior VP of entertainment brand solutions for Disney Advertising Sales, said the (Kevin) Hart controversy, the “host/no-host” dilemma and the public flip-flop over cinematography, editing and other trophies “has not affected advertiser interest.”
Instead, he said, “It has sparked more creative ways of how to surround the programming with brand messages.”
When the Academy floated the idea of relegating some key categories to commercial breaks, “there were a lot of conversations” with advertisers exploring ways to have them “surround” those breaks in a way that would tie in with the categories, Daniello said. After a storm of industry protest, the Academy reversed its decision and will include all categories live on the air.
The advertisers themselves have very calculated plans of attack:
Sixteen advertisers will debut new creative materials or entirely new campaigns during the broadcast, ABC says, a record high in recent years. Director Ridley Scott handled a spot for Hennessy’s first-ever Oscar ad, and Charlize Theron will add some A-list glamour to a Budweiser ad. Walmart, a frequent Oscar-night presence, is taking a new tack with a half-dozen 15-second ads focusing on below-the-line industry figures like a stuntperson, a production assistant and a hair and makeup artist.
“At these prices, and at the value that you get, the advertising is not going to be run-of-the-mill, things you saw last week,” according to Fred Chassé, senior VP at Analytic Partners, a consultant to brand marketers. “For a lot of marketers, there will be a hit to ROI (Return on Investment),” he said.
And like they said, hey — it’s still the Oscars:
Kevin Krim, CEO of EDO, a TV measurement and analytics company founded by Daniel Nadler and Edward Norton, says the company found that viewers of ads during last year’s ceremony were 77% more likely to engage online with an advertiser compared with those who saw an equivalent ad during ABC’s regular primetime shows.
“The ratings have been trending downward, but engagement is still high,” he told Deadline in an interview.
Added Greenfield of C3, “At the end of the day, these are still the Oscars.”
Yeah, but it’s also still a bunch of people who, from time to time, lose sight of the fact that they’re entertainers, not political experts. And who also lose sight of the fact that the movie audience is comprised of both conservatives and liberals, not only those who exist in the Tinseltown bubble. But even to Democratic viewers, I believe, the worst vice is ADvice. #PreachingSuxx
Will you be watching tonight? Whether yes or no, let us all know why, in the Comments section below.
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