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Academy Awards Exploits Digital Opportunities with Audiences and Advertisers

By Joy Baer February 24, 2012 | 9:21am

Academy Awards Exploits Digital Opportunities With Audiences and Advertisers

Originally appearing February 24, 2012 in iMedia Connection

Even though its often over shadowed by Super Bowl buzz, the Oscars are one of the most important TV advertising events of the year, and one of the most expensive.

In terms of pricing, Oscar TV ad spots outrank most award shows. But the actual “worth” of these spots have come into question in recent years,  as viewership of the awards show has waned, especially among younger demographics. The Hollywood Reporter published a report in their February 17 issue that showed how hosts and best picture nominees affect overall viewership. After pulling together additional data for review,  there is some truth to the analysis.

Academy Awards Exploits Digital Opportunities With Audiences and Advertisers

The chart proves that during years with big pictures such as the “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” in 2004 won, viewership was at a high of 44 Million.  But when critic darling, “No Country for Old Men” won in 2008, viewership was at only 31 Million.  This year may also be difficult for viewers to get behind since “The Help” is the only box office hit among the nine best-picture nominees.  Other networks are also competing heavily as multiple programming options are set to distract viewers such as TNT airing the NBA All-Star Game against the Oscars, likely peeling away male audiences.

However, with viewership in question, digital efforts are being put in place to build interest in this year’s festivities.  The Academy is hoping to attract younger viewers by streaming the show live online this year, including a pay wall for viewers to get exclusive high level content. ABC also increased its online advertising efforts, placing rich media and display ads on targeted web sites in the 3-4 weeks leading up to the Academy Awards to build interest in the TV broadcast*.

Also announced this week, ABC and the Academy are working to boost viewer engagement before, during and after the live telecast through an all-access application for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.  The official application is part of the new Oscar Digital Experience, which includes increasing Facebook, Twitter and overall social media engagement.

Big brands that notoriously spend large budgets on TV ad spots are also increasing social media efforts to help bolster advertising campaigns. Hyundai, Diet Coke and JC Penney have all tripled social media efforts and are working to coordinate messages with digital platforms.

Are our big TV events of the year becoming more and more digital? Even the Academy is “going digital” in their own way – they’ve announced plans to incorporate electronic voting in 2013. The Academy and advertisers are staging a new way to keep the Oscars relevant with broader demographics. Balanced with perhaps another look at the format of the show, Digital could set the stage for our next award winning performances.

*Source - Kantar

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