Keeping with recent trends in television ratings, the 2018 Oscars was the least-watched — at least across the broadcast platform — in Oscar history.
The Oscars, which celebrated its 90th anniversary on ABC on Sunday night, were watched by less than 30 million people with 26.5 million people tuning in, according to Nielsen’s Fast Nationals. That’s down about 19 percent from last year.
Viewership for the show has fallen every year out of the past five, after hitting a ten-year-high in 2014, although this year’s drop seems particularly precipitous. The previous low was 31.8 million in 2008, which aired just after the end of the writers’ strike.
While the show’s ratings were low, its length was long, clocking in at the longest run-time since 2007 at three hours and 50 minutes.
The Oscars are in good company, however, with the Golden Globes, the Super Bowl and the Grammys all down significantly this year from last. The Oscars also remain the highest-rated of the awards shows, with the Grammys on CBS scoring 19.8 million on Jan. 28, while the Golden Globes on NBC averaged 19 million on Jan. 7.
Here’s the breakdown:
2008: 31.8 million viewers (previous low)
2009: 36.9 million
2010: 41.6 million
2011: 37.9 million
2012: 39.5 million
2013: 40.4 million
2014: 43.6 million
2015: 37.3 million
2016: 34.5 million
2017: 32.9 million
2018: 26.5 million
While that drop is generating pessimistic headlines, Vulture‘s Josef Adalian offers a positive spin, saying that lower ratings doesn’t necessarily translate to lower profits; even that smaller level of viewership is huge, relatively speaking; and the Oscars remain a great way for ABC to promote its upcoming offerings, such as American Idol and Roseanne.