Millions of Americans who have grown weary of left-wing lectures from celebrities decided against watching this year’s Academy Awards, helping to send ratings for the ABC telecast plummeting to their lowest level in modern history. Now the Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, is acknowledging the “hard impact” the disastrous broadcast has had on the company.
In a press conference ahead of its “upfront” presentation to advertisers, Disney made its first public comments about the ratings fiasco.
“We were seeing a hard impact on the performance this year of the Oscars, given the reality of movies in theaters and the moviegoing audience being able to actually see all those movies,” said Rita Ferro, Disney’s head of advertising sales and partnerships, according to a report from Deadline.
The 93rd Academy Awards telecast on ABC drew just 10.4 million viewers, a drop of more than 50 percent from the previous year’s record low. The annual broadcast has seen its viewership decline steadily since 2014, when it attracted 43.7 million viewers.
The ratings collapse could hurt Disney’s ability to command top dollar from advertisers on Hollywood’s biggest night. Deadline reported ABC is asking advertisers to pay $2 million and more for 30-second commercials on Oscar night.
Disney has reportedly suggested that all corporate “sponsorships” will be reviewed.
“There’s no question that we will look at all of the sponsorships across all of our business going forward and make sure that they reflect the potential and the audience and the impact that they drive,” Ferro said. “But live continues to be an important strategy for us.”
The past several days have proven to be turbulent for Disney. Last week, the company reported disappointing quarterly results, with subscriptions for its Disney+ streaming service falling below Wall Street’s expectations. The news caused Disney stock to sink 4 percent.
The company is still dealing with fallout from the revelation that it promoted critical race theory to its employees, encouraging them to strive for “equity,” or the “equality of outcome,” and to reflect on America’s “racist infrastructure.”