Advertisers who purchased commercial airtime for this year's Academy Awards show — which airs Sunday night — are so concerned about declining viewership and decreasing return on investment that they are now demanding ratings threshold guarantees.
What are the details?
Amid plummeting ratings, which have plagued Hollywood award shows over the last decade, ABC, which owns exclusive rights to host the Oscars, was "forced to guarantee a ratings threshold to keep the deepest-pocketed buyers happy" ahead of Sunday's show, according to Deadline.
"The Oscars are still a very big deal, but people aren't stupid, and year after year of declining ratings are getting us to a danger zone," an "insider" told Deadline. "We are right on the edge of that danger zone — not close, but on it — and that makes advertisers very nervous."
After years of record-low ratings, car companies, retail companies, and technology companies requested — and were granted — the ratings guarantees. The development was characterized as "a wake-up call to everyone."
An advertising executive for Disney — which owns ABC — unequivocally denied the guarantees in a statement to Deadline. Still, even if the guarantees exist, with more than 20 million expected viewers, the awards show would clear the threshold hurdle with ease.
This year's Oscars Awards show has already been mired in controversy when its host, comedian Kevin Hart, backed out of hosting the show after LGBT activists seized on him after unearthing ancient social media postings from Hart that they found offensive.
Oscars executives reportedly first tried to secure Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as this year's host, but was unable to do so. With Hart's departure, this year's show will go on host-less.