Oscars draw average audience of 41.3-million -- Is Twitter to blame?
ABC officials announced triumphantly today that Sunday's Oscarcast drew an average audience of 41.3-million viewers, becoming TV's most-watched entertainment program in five years.
The numbers are impressive. About 70-million unduplicated viewers watched at least 6-minutes of the show Sunday. The average of 41.3-million was a 5-million boost from last year, more than tripling the Emmy awards' audience, more than doubling the Golden Globes' audience and almost doubling the Grammy awards' audience.
Locally, an average of 461,000 viewers watched the show on WFTS-Ch. 28, which was about one-third of area residents watching TV at the time (Sarasota residents could also see it on WWSB-Ch. 40)
Without surveys and testing, it's hard to know why people tuned in, but there's a few ideas at hand:
-- Having 10 Best Picture nominees, including crowd pleasers such as The Blind Side, Up and the industry's highest-grossing film ever, Avatar, helped build buzz for the broadcast and get people invested in seeing the outcome.
-- The snark-a-thons on social networking Web sites such as Twitter and Facebook may encourage people to tune in who might normally avoid the show -- if only to see what everybody's complaining about.
-- Were some women who might pass up the broadcast drawn in by the opportunity to see The Hurt Locker's Kathryn Bigelow make history as the first female Best Director winner? Or was it the chance to sneer at another lame J. Lo. gown?
In the end, opening up the Best Picture nominees may have succeed better than anyone expected, making the Oscarcast feel like a party most anyone could attend, while saving the dearest trophies for the creative, independent efforts that usually need recognition most.