Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oscar household rating lowest in over 50 years

I have some predictable theories, none of them novel, on why leftist media sources I regularly imbibe of devote an inordinate amount of attention to things for which such coverage is not merited by public interest. That is, stories on the New Orleans recovery, the writers' strike, profiles of music artists few people have heard of and even fewer want to ever hear of, Hollywood movie award presentations, etc.

Regarding the latter most, I'm holding out hope that hard numbers will lessen airtime devoted to them in the future:
The national viewer tally reported by Nielsen Media Research for ABC's live, three-hour-plus telecast [of the Oscars] on Sunday was down about 1 million viewers [to 32 million] from the previous record low, set in 2003 when the Oscars were presented just after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq had begun. ...

Sunday's broadcast, with comedian Jon Stewart making his second appearance as Oscar host, now ranks as the smallest U.S. TV audience for the Oscars since 1974, when actual viewer totals first became available.

The national household rating of 18.7 also marks the lowest level by that measure going back to the very first televised Oscars in 1953.
In '98, the year of Titanic, 20% of the country tuned in. A decade later, fewer than 11% did. I understand the slate of films released during '07 were devoid of any big blockbusters, but attrition in favor of other forms of virtual entertainment, like YouTube and video games, strikes me as a good. The former, created less than three years ago, is now among the top five most visited sites in the country. Video game sales, which surpassed total box office revenues in the US in 2001, will likely more than double box office revenues in 2008.

These new forms of entertainment are more interactive, less ideologically rigid, and potentially offer rich, intimate character development that is difficult to accomplish on the big screen. And they offer a means to "depussify" the lives of the next generation!


MensaRefugee said...

Good comment from Agnostic.
Not "balance the curriculum to boys interests" nor "reduce the feminist bias".

Just Depussify :)

Audacious Epigone said...

Hehe, well, why use two words when one will do, right?

Anonymous said...

Demographic changes, both in an ageing populace, and a non-white populace, is why Hollywood is beginning to see the the end of its current product type.

In the future, look for movies that cater to smaller segments of the populace and its tiny subcultures. We are NOT all the same anymore.

Hip-hopsters want a different entertainment than pussyfied white liberals, happy-go-lucky-jocks or goth posers do.

Demographically, do you really expect our legions of new brown- fellow-continent-dwellers to want to see movies about white women finding a balance between career and childless romance? I dont expect that either, so you can look for movies with brown supermen vanquishing make-believe white bad guys that dont actually exist and winning the love of half-white females with white features.

Actual intelligent white people (like myself) pretty much dont see movies at all anymore. Hollywood is only capable of making 2-3 decent products a year. Most older folks realize movies are silly trips to the land of make-believe anyway and dont even bother. Documeturaries that attempt to show the world as it really is are much more interesting to people as they age. Unfortunately for Hollywood, these are oft-consumed at home in front of a television set.

What are movies, really? Why did they ever flourish? They gave a young man a chance to spend money on a young woman instead of having to talk to her and affored him some entertainment over a two hour time period in which she would see a hero defeat obstacles and win the love of a heroine and live happily ever after, priming her for good night in the sheets with the guy who bought her the popcorn and coke. You dont really learn anything from movies, and you dont exit the building a more wizened human being. Movies became the real date replacement, and provided some nice travelogue archival footage of exotic places. The plots are usually essentially the same anyway.

Perhaps stuff like playhouses might see some sort of resurgance in various cities in the future with a sizeable cultured population that has given up on hollywood. Who knows? What I do know is that I'd expect less and less of the people you personally know bothering to go see the latest stupidity on screen.

But we can all look on the bright side of this..............perhaps it will end once and for all that despicable form of life we know as the 'movie star' with their self-important desire improve us all with their political beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Considering the cost of going to the movies these days, the money is better spent on booze. Movies come out on DVD so quickly that if they suck, you don't feel like you got raped.
The culture will depussify itself, it is already doing so. Video games are a larger industry(money wise) than movies(I think). And in any event, the Met is packed. You can get the "nosebleed" seats for cheap, $15 for the Barber of Seville this Friday! The opera and theatre works much better for impressing a date than movies anyway(coming across as cultured is gold). As an added benefit, some of the high culture might rub off and stick as well.

Off Topic:
AE, thanks for the advice last year on where to go drink in Kansas City. I had a blast. Not a bad bar scene, not at all!

Audacious Epigone said...


You're saying much of what I'm thinking less coherently. The paragraph beginning with "What are movies, really?" is terrific. My first date, in sixth grade, was at the big AMC theater. I wasn't precocious enough to go that far, but the thrust was the same. I would've been in trouble trying to keep her entertained doing anything else. When I got older, it was more a matter of ease--yeah, sure, movie sounds good, whatever. Now (and for several years) I cannot imagine going.


The video game industry became bigger than the box office seven years ago. I'm not sure if it is with DVD sales included (total DVD sales top $20 billion annually, but much of that is television shows, documentaries, etc, not Hollywood movies), but there's no question in my mind that it will be bigger soon if it is not already.

Heh, glad you had a good time. Let me know if you're in town again, we'll grab coffee at the Classic Cup or something!