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Oscar Broadcast Tuned Out By Fox News Viewers

Fox News viewers voted against watching the Academy Awards on Sunday night, contributing to the ratings decline for the ABC Oscar broadcast, according to an analysis by Samba TV.

Samba TV looked at viewers of the 2016 Oscars who were also heavy Fox News Channel watchers and found that 42% did not tune in to this year’s Oscars.

That suggests that the anti-Trump message coming from host Jimmy Kimmel and some of the award presenters turned off a larger segment of the potential audience than embraced it.

Ratings for ABC's Oscar broadcast were down, despite the wild ending in which La La Land was mistakenly given the award for Best Picture. There was chaos on-screen as the error was discovered and the prize was turned over to Moonlight.

Looking at all heavy cable news watchers, Samba TV found that of those that watched the 2016 Oscars but did not watch the 2017 Oscars, 48% were heavy Fox News watcher, 30% were heavy CNN watchers and 15% were heavy MSNBC watchers.

Last year’s audience consisted of 46% Fox News viewers, 32% CNN watchers and 16% of MSNBC watchers. This year it was 45% CNN, 23% MSNBC and 30% Fox News, according to Samba TV.

“New viewers are showing up to the Oscars, but not enough to replace all the Fox News people who are tuning out the celebrities,” said Ashwin Navin, CEO and cofounder of Samba TV. “Of special concern to the Oscars telecast, the new viewers also happen to be consumers who are adept at getting clips online. The bottom line is politics may be bad business for Hollywood.”

Of the households overall that watched the 2017 show, 54% watched last year and 46% did not watch last year. And the Oscars appear to have a different audience than the Grammys, which aired two weeks ago. Just 38% of Grammy viewers also watched the Oscars.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.