The Oscars draw 18.8 million viewers, up 13% from last year

UPDATE: The 2023 Oscars drew an average audience of 18.8 million total viewers Sunday night, upping the spectacle 13% from a year earlier’s figures, according to final time-zone-adjusted data that includes Live + Same numbers Day by Nielsen. The Ceremony earned a 4.0 rating in the key Adult 18-49 demo, pushing it to a three-year high in both total viewers and demo, up 5% from 2020.

The telecast topped the 2023 Grammys on CBS by 50 percent, which garnered an audience of 12.5 million total viewers for the Feb. 5 show, and last year’s Emmys on NBC by 219 percent, which garnered an audience of 5.9 million last September. Among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, the Oscars outnumbered the Grammys by 38% and the Emmys by 264%.

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The 95th Oscars ranks as the strongest awards telecast on any network by both total viewers and adults ages 18-49 since ABC’s 2020 Oscars broadcast.

On social media, the show handled 27.4 million total social interactions across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and was the No. 1 of the year to date in terms of social video consumption with 60.6 million video views.

The ASL live stream of the show had 1.8 million views, marking a 443% jump from last year’s telecast which drew 331,000 views.

PREVIOUSLY: Oscar viewership surged Sunday as an average of 18.7 million viewers tuned in to see ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’, earn top film honors and dominate the 95th Academy Awards on ABC with seven wins. That’s according to early Nielsen ratings adjusted for the time zone, which includes away-from-home viewing, but keep in mind that number could change when the finals happen.

The Oscars, which featured the return of host Jimmy Kimmel for the first time since 2018, were up 12% from last year’s ratings. And according to those Nielsen timezone-adjusted rapid national numbers, it topped a year earlier’s 3.8 mark in key adults 18-49 by 5%, earning a 4.0 in the demo.

This year’s telecast faced stiff competition from HBO’s season finale of the smash hit “The Last of Us” — whose star, Pedro Pascal, was ironically a host on the kudocast. But it presumably also benefited from increased interest in this year’s Oscar competition, given the presence of well-known films like ‘Everything Everywhere’, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Top Gun Maverick’ in the running – not to mention the fact that the Audiences may have been curious about how Kimmel and the telecast would deal with Will Smith’s slap on host Chris Rock last year.

Looking at similar preliminary national data from last year, the 2022 ceremony attracted 15.36 million viewers and a 3.2 rating among adults aged 18-49.

The 2023 Oscars, which aired live from approximately 8:00 p.m. to 11:39 p.m. ET, was also the first from the production team of Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, live TV veterans who filled that role after several years as producers cinematographers who supervised the event.

Final Nielsen “live + same day” data for the 95th Oscars will be available Tuesday. Early Nielsen Fast Affiliate numbers for Sunday’s Oscars reported by some outlets on Monday are incorrect for time zones and do not account for the West Coast view of the awards show.

ABC executives were also preparing for unusual numbers because Sunday marked the start of daylight saving time and it was possible that audiences could be affected by the time change.

Ratings for the Oscars have been significantly lower in recent years, reaching an all-time low in 2021 of 10.5 million viewers and a 2.2 rating among the major demographic adults 18-49.

The 2022 telecast, which featured a remote performance from Beyoncé and that shocking altercation between Rock and Smith, drew 16.6 million viewers according to Nielsen data Live+ Same Day—a 58% increase over the previous year and an average of 3.8 (73% increase over 2021) in the key demographic of adults 18-49. After another delayed viewing over the next few days, the broadcast drew 17.6 million viewers, making it last year’s most-watched non-sports show.

But despite good growth, the 2022 show still managed to rank as the second worst viewership and ratings in Oscar history. Last year’s show was touted as “the most social Oscars telecast on record,” according to ABC and the Academy, with 22.7 million total social interactions, a 139 percent increase over the year’s broadcast last year (9.5 million). The broadcast garnered 16 million video views on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The record for an Oscar telecast remains the landmark set in 1998, when an average of 55.3 million viewers watched “Titanic” win Best Picture. As of 2014, the Oscars still drew 43.6 million viewers (when “12 Years a Slave” won). The last time the Oscars drew more than 30 million viewers was 2017 (33 million, when “Moonlight” won) and the last time it crossed the 20 million mark was the pre-pandemic show 2020 (23.6 million, the year “Parasite” was victorious).

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