Oscars Use Social Media to Boost Ratings, Appeal to Gen Y Audience

In the past few years The Academy Awards began losing its status as the show of the year. In 2008, the show’s ratings dropped to an all-time low. In 2009, viewership increased by 13%, which is the third lowest-rated broadcast in Oscar’s televised history.

What are the reasons behind this drop in ratings? Well, one of the main reasons is the lack of social media use in past years. Until last year’s telecast, a lack of social media tie-ins thwarted the Academy from achieving higher ratings. The Academy wasn’t harnessing the power of Oscar pools on online channels, using social networking sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) to keep viewers engaged in real-time, streaming videos backstage at the awards ceremony, or utilizing mobile technology.

This year, the Academy used social media to boost ratings and connect with the Gen Y Audience. Here are some of the ways the Academy used social media to gain viewers and engage with the audience:

  • Streamed nominations live online at Oscars.org, and on the Academy’s Facebook page.
  • Revamped website by hosting video and exclusive content from nominees, as well as widgets for Oscar pools and predictions.
  • Oscars iPhone application launched in late February. Fans use the app to see how their Oscar predictions faired against others.
  • The Academy will release behind-the-scenes footage from the preparations and rehearsals leading up to the 2010 telecast. The videos will also be syndicated to online video sites and digital out-of-home networks.

Do you think these social media tactics helped boost ratings for the 2010 Academy Awards show? Next year, you can expect to see Facebook and Twitter integration for real-time engagement with viewers.  What are some other tactics you think would help in 2011?

One thought on “Oscars Use Social Media to Boost Ratings, Appeal to Gen Y Audience

  1. This is so right on. Last night while watching the academy awards and my Twitter stream, I was actually thinking about Kanye West’s outburst at the 2009 VMA’s (@Taylor Swift) and wondering if this was staged specifically for social media. I wouldn’t be surprised. Social media really has given life back to broadcast events.

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