AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
This year's Academy Awards were a "Titanic" success -- the top-rated Oscars in 15 years with the highest total-viewer count ever.
But is this a one-time surge -- a non-repeatable feat, dependent on a $500 million blockbuster pic leading a fleet of box-office heavyweights and a crew of big-name sentimental-favorite actors?
ABC is hoping that's not the case. Michael Davies, exec VP for alternate series and specials at ABC, expects a swell in Academy Award ratings over at least the next few years. "I think we raised the profile of the Oscars in the public consciousness," Davies says. "A lot of people saw them for the first time."
Davies is particularly pleased the March 23 telecast saw its biggest increases among teen and young-adult audiences that had previously seemed unenthused over the Academy Awards.
This year's overall household score, a 34.9 rating, 55 share, reps a 27% increase in rating over last year's 27.4/46 (all figures based on Nielsen data). That's a big jump, largest for an Oscarcast in 28 years. But what's got ABC particularly excited is the skew of these increases toward younger audience members.
The 1998 telecast improved over last year by 48% in adults 18-49, 52% in adults 18-34 and a spectacular 71% among teens, all gains that far outstrip the telecast's overall 27% jump.
Increases were generally balanced between male and female viewers, meaning the Oscars continue to skew heavily female. For example, the Academy Awards earned a 28.8/63 among women 18-49 and a lesser 19.5/50 among men 18-49.
Terrif among teens
In teens, it was 20.1/62 among females and 13.8/41 among males, though the rate of increase over last year was greater with male teens, 75% vs. 68%.
Obviously, the enormous popularity of "Titanic" among teen and young-adult audiences drove those increases, but Davies notes the ceremony was somewhat tailored to attract and hold younger …