By EMMA CHANG
As ironic as it sounds, Hollywood’s biggest night just hit an all-time low.
On March 4th, the 90th annual Oscar Academy Awards debuted with the lowest ratings in over a decade. With only a startling 26.5 million viewers, the Oscars viewership decline certainly reflects today’s ever-increasing reliance on streaming viewership.
Hosted for the second consecutive year by late-night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, the program ran for almost four hours. Despite its lack of political commentary, the Academy Awards were still unpopular as a result of its excessive run-time and selective viewership eligibility.
While the show may have initially attracted a large audience, its four hour duration easily discouraged viewers from watching the broadcast in its entirety. Instead, viewers chose to wait for the final award results to be posted on social media as an easier and faster alternative.
As it seems, live television (TV) broadcasts, like the Oscars, just can’t keep up with the fast-pace development of today’s digital advancements.
Unfortunately, not all viewers shared the celebrities’ enthusiasm for comedic social jabs and underlying motivational words, which ultimately caused the show to lose several high ratings from critics
As for viewership, the count has not fallen below 32 million since 2008, bringing the 2018 Oscars to a new low with a staggering 26.5 million. In recent years, the telecast ratings have begun fluctuating, reaching respective highs and lows, but never like this.
This could be attributed to the fact that the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) channel only allowed viewers with paid cable or TV subscriptions to tune in to the broadcast. Nowadays, many modern day audiences have discovered social media and streaming applications such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu as an inexpensive and easier alternative to cable TV.
With the continuing development of more streaming applications and the ability to download “on-demand’ titles at much cheaper rates in comparison to standard TV provider rates, live shows such as the Oscars are taking a major hit.
Even with the downtrend in watchers, the night had its worthwhile moments. Featuring various comedic presenters, astonishing fashion statements, rousing feminism acceptance speeches, the awards show was definitely one to remember.
In addition, the second reappearance of host Jimmy Kimmel and his opening monologue reminded the world of everything audiences love about the Oscars: its ability to make a satire of the existing political climate without repercussion, to reflect on previous mistakes and the way celebrities can call audiences to action like no other.
Though the Academy Awards still remain a significant event in the entertainment industry, this occurrence certainly poses the question as to what lies in the future for the world of entertainment. Is this only the beginning of the disappearance of live TV programs?