It is NOT essential for this Scope’s credibility that our estimates of The Revenant winning Best Pic NOR of the 2016 Oscar show being seen by of 42½ M become reality b/c the Best Pic & the audience size merely give us 2 data Oscar discussion points. The 3rd data point is Chris Rock as a host. (No prediction since he is fait accompli and we shall connect him to the Oscar audience, anyway.)  The Revenant has the most noms with 11 (Please see Vol 26 issue 16) and the 2nd best odds of winning the Best Pic Oscar. As for Mr Rock’s hosting, well we start our analysis in 1999 b/c 1998 was the surreal yr when The Titanic capsized ALL Oscar boats. (Its extraordinary domestic box office, its Oscar wins and its gigantic Oscar TV audience made The Perfect Storm [2000]. Its host, Billy Crystal, had little impact on that remarkable audience. It was the movie, the movie, and the MOVIE!) Since 1998, Black entertainers have hosted 3 Oscars (Whoopi in 1999 and 2002 and Chris Rock in 2005). Their Oscar audiences have avged better than 43 M they and have NOT been blessed with a Titanic like flick. (Just 4 the record, the AVG Oscar audience minus the Titanic, Whoopi, and Chris Rock is 39.47 M) Given Whoopi and Rock’s audience leverage we shall take a bit of flyer on the audience impact of a Blackout and the lack of diversity controversy. We expect that Mr Rock’s “pulling power” and the curiosity about the Blackout will likely increase this yr’s audience given last yr’s almost pathetic TV audience of 36.60 M!!!!!







Let’s be real, in ANY given yr the Oscars are in danger of being sunk! The aforementioned Titanic with its incredible domestic box office ($495 M) and an equally awesome frgn box of $1,149 M was an undeniable Oscar hit. The host could have been Buzz Lightyear and the audience would still have measure at 55 M±. With or w/o its  Oscars, the Titanic had been seen or known by everybody. The result was an amazing Oscars with a US TV audience that was almost 40% bigger than the avg Oscars’ audience b/t 1998 & 2015. It was over 55% of the SB’s TV audience that yr. Oscars’ 2015’s puny audience, 36.6 M (with host Neil Patrick Harris) was ONLY 32% of SB 2015’s TV audience. Since 1998, the 2015 Oscars was the 3rd smallest Oscars’ audience. ANYQUESTION$? Either the Academy gave a damn about its audience in 1998 & doesn’t today OR the Titanic awakened such a force OR the “stars” were aligned perfectly (for the Titanic and its audience) but apparently NOTSOMUCH for today??? Look, the Oscars’ telecast model is BROKEN and THE Academy MUST fix it and fix it NOW! It must contemporize itself. MUST it mirror “The People’s Choice” awards OR the “Blk Entertainment” awards OR become a Rotten Tomatoes surrogate? NO, NO and NO! It must however, reflect TODAY’S America. At the very least it MUST contemporize itself so that a viewing audience will want to watch it. Its target audience is older, wealthier, well-educated white women. And yes advertisers will follow. Whether it be Coke, Comcast, Kohl’s, etc.




No matter if The Force Awakens wins Best Pic (it wasn’t even nominated). No matter if Chris Rock rocks or sinks like one; no matter if the TV audience is 25 M or 45 M (it won’t be); this is a Chance of a Lifetime for the Academy to become a real reel, to modernizing itself & to join the 21st century. IT MUST become much more diverse; IT MUST make sure that its audience is not an afterthought; it MUST streamline its telecast; and it MUST be MUCH, MUCH MORE  relevant to & reflective of America. Then and ONLY then, will viewers and advertisers really want to watch. There never has been a better chance. If it is too late for the Academy, ABC and Oscar advertisers to reform in 2016, then we can’t wait for 2017. May Hollywood be less like deadwood and more like a Hollywood with a vigorous Vine of vitality.


Below we list a few recent TV Event & Award shows that were unable to match their previous yr’s audience. Is this TV down epidemic or is it a blip on our TVs? No matter, the Oscars is THE reigning royalty of AWARD SHOWS & it MUST make every reasonable attempt to fix itself & to get connected to its real movie audience. IT MUST lead the way!


Recent TV Events and Award Shows That Were Unsuccessful in Matching Previous Yr’s Audiences

(Domestic viewership)

  • 2016 Super Bowl 50, (111.9 M), down 2% from 2015
  • 2016 Grammy’s, (24.95 M), down 4% from 2015
  • 2015 Grammy’s, (25.3 M) down 11% from 2014
  • 2015 BET Awards, (6.5 M), down 18% from 2014
  • 2015 MTV VMA Awards, (4.2 M), down 39% from 2014
  • 2015 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, (3.63 M), down 28% from 2014
  • 2015 Victoria Secret Fashion Show, (6.6 M), down 32% from 2014


The Oscar model is broken and must be fixed. The nominations MUST be diverse and be MUCH MORE in tune with the US movie going population. (As we speak, the US is already less than 50% white. NEXTQUESTION!)  . Currently, the Oscar’s (as previously stated) clear target market is old, wealthy, well-educated white women. The Academy, ABC & the Acads’ advertisers must recognize that Millennials are the market here, now and for the future. Given that recognition the nominators, the winners and the show must change radically. (We find it interesting that the choices of a host have NOT followed the same flawed pattern of selection whether it be Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres or Chris Rock.) We would love to see an Acad ad OR an ABC ad OR a sponsor/advertiser’s ad create a 30 sec ad on the value of diversity perhaps like that SB 48 Cheerios ad on diversity (7th place USA2day’s Admeter). AMEN!



About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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