HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - Viewership for ABC's Oscars telecast rose 55.9% to 15.36 million from last year's record low of 9.85 million, but were still the second-lowest on record, according to preliminary figures released today by Nielsen.
Final figures are scheduled to be released Tuesday, but are not expected to change significantly from those released Monday. The difference between preliminary and final figures for the Oscars is customarily between 100,000 and 300,000 viewers.
The final viewership figure for the 2021 ceremony was 10.403 million.
The audience for Sunday's telecast from the Dolby Theatre was the largest for a prime-time entertainment program during the 27-week-old 2021-22 television season and the most for an ABC prime-time program since the 2020 Oscars averaged a then-record-low 23.639 million viewers.
Factors for the record-low viewership in 2021 included the ceremony being the first to be held outside the customary months of February or March since 1988 and the change in venue to Union Station. Both changes were the caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Viewership for all forms of programming has decreased in recent years, in part because of competition from streaming programs.
The Oscars' substantial viewership declines in recent years have also been attributed to the lack of box office success of the best picture nominees.
The Oscar ceremonies since 2018 are the only ones to average less than 30 million viewers. Individual viewership figures have been kept since 1974. The Oscars have aired on ABC each year since 1976. The network's contract with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to air them runs through 2028.
The most-watched Academy Awards ceremony was in 1998, when an average of 55.25 million viewers watched then-box office record-setter ``Titanic'' win the best picture Oscar.