The 2020 Academy Awards ceremony saw its TV audience shrink to an all-time low. According to Nielsen, the live show had an average of 23.6 million viewers, a 20 percent decline on last year when 29.5 million tuned in. The previous record low was in 2018 when 26.6 million viewers watched the ceremony. There are several likely reasons for this year's less than impressive viewership figures.
The most obvious reason is a boom in streaming which has led to noticeable decline in live TV viewing. There are others, however, with some suggesting that an earlier date in the 2020 calendar eliminated some of the event's hype. A continuing lack of diversity is also likely to have contributed to the ratings slump, while the emergence of lower-budget arthouse movies as top contenders for Best Picture is possibly playing a role.
South Korean film Parasite made history on Sunday by becoming the first-ever foreign language film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. The average viewer more than likely did not see the movie, however, with most people opting for blockbuster hits. That, as in previous years, can lead to a lack of emotional attachment to the smaller films and possible reluctance to tune in to the ceremony.