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​​2024 Academy Awards Win Big Audiences via Broadcast TV   

Live events, such as awards shows, are not only some of the most-viewed programming on TV but are also experiencing their largest viewership in years. Broadcast TV remains THE premier home for the most buzzworthy cultural moments and shared viewing experiences.​  

Meredith Cunningham Published: March 13, 2024
​​2024 Academy Awards Win Big Audiences via Broadcast TV    image

The first few months of 2024 have demonstrated that embracing sports and live events is an award-winning strategy.   

Take the 2024 Academy Awards as an example; the numbers speak for themselves: 19.5 million viewers tuned into ABC on a Sunday night, making it the most-watched Oscars since 2020 and marking the third year of consecutive viewership growth.   

We know live sports deliver big broadcast audiences, and these viewership numbers are on par with the NFL’s regular season average audience of 17.9 million viewers this season. Better yet, broadcast viewership is up across all of Q1’s tentpole events.  

  • This year’s Super Bowl set records, becoming the most-viewed event since the moon landing with 123.7 million viewers across CBS, Nickelodeon, Univision, and streaming on Paramount+ and NFL digital platforms. It is also the second-most-watched TV event in American history.    
  • The Golden Globes jumped 50% from 2023 to 9.4 million viewers. 
  • The Grammy’s viewership also climbed 34% from 2023 to 16.9 million. 
  • NASCAR viewership is up 19% over 2023, with the Cup Series race from Phoenix Raceway amassing more than 4 million viewers on FOX.   
  • Interestingly, a PGA Golf rerun of Pebble Beach, where Wyndham Clark set a course record in his winning moment, amassed more than 1.21 million viewers on CBS. 

“The numbers speak volumes,” says Tom Charno, TEGNA’s Senior Consumer Insights Strategist. “These live events offer unmatched reach and programming that viewers are actively invested in and engage with, showing the importance of why advertisers should roll out the red carpet and get their messaging in these tentpole events.” 

What’s Behind Live TV’s Comeback?   

The Oscars aired an hour earlier than in previous years, which could explain the rise in viewership. But, there’s also a sense of shared cultural moments paired with FOMO, according to Charno.  

“There’s so much on-demand content to watch via streaming with no shared experience, and I think, evidenced by the box office success of ‘Barbenheimer,’ we saw people flocking to theaters to be a part of this cultural moment because audiences crave live, in-the-moment, water-cooler conversation experience, especially after being isolated for so long,” Charno notes.

“I believe this translates into audiences wanting to also recreate this shared experience through the award shows broadcast on live TV. It puts them back in that moment of a shared cultural experience.” 

“There’s also an element of spoilers at play. With live events, you can see the unexpected play out in real-time, and viewers are more immersed in the experience because of it,” he says.  

Some of this year’s viral moments include “Barbie” star Ryan Gosling’s live performance of “I’m Just Ken,” a nude John Cena presenting the award for best costume, and Emma Stone’s emotional speech after winning Best Actress for “Poor Things.” 

“Watching live, at least in my opinion, is more fun than seeing a post about it on social media later, where you’re playing catch-up. It’s not as exciting to see it online after the fact when you could have been caught up and more emotional in the moment as a viewer.”  

A Look into the Ad Creative 

The Oscars also give advertisers an excellent storytelling opportunity to change the narrative and present the brand in a new light. For example, Fast Company has highlighted Rolex’s #HumbleBrag ad. The Rolex ad, “Every Hero Needs an Ally,” which Fast Company declared the best ad of the night, perfectly aligned with the magic of the night. It shows a montage of Rolex watches in popular movies like 2023’s “The Iron Claw” and more “pop culture bona fides.” 

“Advertisers place extreme importance on making memorable and emotional connections with audiences on the big screen, and for good reason,” says Charno. When audiences become captivated by engaging storytelling, it improves brand awareness, ad recall, and purchase intent. It also starts conversations and generates word-of-mouth marketing. Plus, some of the ad creative we’re seeing could win an award of its own.” 

And the Award Goes To …  Live Broadcast TV 

Cue the “Too Long” song. We’ll wrap up the significant benefits the Oscars – and live event – audiences award to advertisers:  

  • Massive Audience Reach: Major live events draw millions of diverse viewers, providing unparalleled exposure, reach, and engagement with consumers on a large scale. 
  • Cultural Relevance: These occasions serve as cultural touchstones, and advertisers can tap into people’s conversations about these events while building positive associations through the halo effect 
  • Uninterrupted Attention: In an age of ad-blocking and multitasking, live events and sports broadcasts offer advertisers a unique advantage: uninterrupted attention with no fast-forwarding or channel surfing.  

Advertising with TEGNA, Aligning with Live Events and Sports  

Team TEGNA knows the power of cross-platform ad campaigns that combine TV, OTT/CTV streaming, and digital assets, and we’re ready to jump-start your campaign today. With 64 broadcast stations in 51 markets nationwide, TEGNA has a unique ability to reach drivers across Broadcast, OTT Streaming, and digital solutions. Contact us today to see how we can accelerate your advertising.

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