Preliminary reports suggest that Oscars ratings have taken a major tumble in 2018.

According to preliminary Nielsen overnight TV ratings data, the television audience viewing the Oscars on Disney’s ABC fell 16% since 2017.

The four hour telecast of the show was watched by 18.9% of the total audience. It also had a 32 share in Nielsen’s metered market overnight ratings, covering about 70% of the US.

To put that in context, the 2017 telecast had a rating of 22.4%. In that year, audiences fell to a nine-year low of 32.9 million viewers.

However, Variety reports these ratings are not adjusted for time zones. Viewers from the West Coast who watched the telecast live are not accurately reflected in these figures.

Read more: Twitter ran its first Oscars ad with an empowering ode to women

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The numbers also do not include viewers of the post-11pm section of the show.

These final 48 minutes are arguably the most interesting of the whole show. This is the part of the Oscars which sees the major awards, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture crowned.

Why it matters:

No doubt some detractors will take this opportunity to critique the politicized nature of this year’s Oscars, which saw stars openly criticise politicians and speak out about equal rights issues.

However, the more likely option is that this report merely shows how television viewership is changing. Nielsen’s data only shows television viewership; it does not include information about those viewers who streamed the show online or watched on a mobile device.

Read more: All the Oscar winners and record-setters from the 90th Academy Awards

The ratings also proved that, despite the drop in viewers, ABC was still the most popular channel of the evening. Their telecast of the Oscars picked up more viewers than of the other ‘Big Four’ American channels.

While the Oscars may have lost viewers, it was still the most popular thing on TV. In essence, a flagging Oscars is nothing more than a mark of flagging television viewership in general.

Nielsen will release more viewing data later today.