Oscars witnesses lowest audience since 2008

Indo Asian News Service

Los Angeles, March 2 (IANS) With 34.3 million viewers, the 88th Academy Awards brought in lowest viewership since 2008, according to preliminary figures released by Nielsen.

The audience for Sunday's ceremony hosted by comedian Chris Rock at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood was 6.3 percent smaller than the preliminary 36.6-million average for last year's ceremony hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, Xinhua reported.

Last year's ceremony averaged 37.26 million viewers, the lowest since 2009, showed the figures released on Monday.

Despite the decrease, the audience was the largest for an entertainment programme since last year's Academy Awards telecast. The Oscars are traditionally television's most-watched entertainment programme of the year.

Nearly 58 million people watched at least six minutes of the telecast, 8.1 percent less than last year's 63 million. Viewership was up one percent among viewers of ages 18-34, with a 9.4 rating compared to a 9.3 rating.

The rating is the average percentage of total viewers or a particular group watching. Viewership was also up among all male demographic groups. There was a 20 percent increase among men ages 18 to 34, a six percent increase among men ages 18 to 49 and men ages 25 to 54.

News of the drop in overall ratings for the telecast was cheered by local civil rights activists who called for a boycott of the telecast over the lack of black nominees in any of the acting categories for the second year in a row.