Sky UK stops 20-year Oscars telecast due to reduced viewership

Sky‘s 20-year legacy broadcasting Oscars faces challenge with declining audience interest and viewership patterns

Sky UK stops 20-year Oscars telecast due to reduced viewership

Credit: Google

In an unexpected move, Sky, the UK’s leading pay-TV broadcaster, announced the end of its 20-year association with broadcasting the Oscars. This monumental decision has opened a new chapter in the broadcasting history of the world’s most esteemed film award ceremony. The transition comes after Sky successfully secured the Oscars’ rights from the BBC back in 2004, marking a consistent run of almost two decades.

Over the years, the Oscars had become an anticipated event on Sky’s programming, with dedicated broadcasts across multiple channels such as Sky Cinema Oscars, Sky Showcase, Sky Arts, and Sky News. Further widening its reach, the ceremony had also been made available on the streaming service Now TV. In a strategic move to engage more UK viewers, the Oscars was broadcasted for the first time on Sky’s free-to-air channels, namely Sky Arts and Sky News, marking a significant stride in accessibility.

However, behind the glitz and glamour, numbers reveal a more sobering story. Live Oscars viewership, which once saw an audience of close to 60,000 in 2022 on Sky Cinema, experienced a sharp drop to around 35,000 this year. This declining trend in live ratings echoes the broader challenges faced in both the U.S. and UK broadcasting realms, especially in an age dominated by streaming platforms.

While Sky hasn’t publicized an explicit reason for its decision, industry insiders and experts point towards the current macroeconomic challenges and the pressing need for cost-saving measures. The entertainment industry, though resilient, hasn’t remained untouched by the broader economic strains, prompting several media giants to re-evaluate their broadcasting choices and strategies.

So, what’s next for the Oscars in the UK? The quest to secure a new broadcasting home is already afoot. Though the Oscars have the distinction of being among the select U.S. award ceremonies airing live in the UK, the changing landscape prompts questions about its future broadcaster. Channels known for their American content acquisitions, like Channel 5, Channel 4, and ITV, are under the limelight. However, early speculations have already eliminated Channel 5 and Paramount+ from the race.

The last Oscars on Sky remains memorable for its accolades and highlights. Under the masterful hosting of Jimmy Kimmel, the cinematic marvel “Everything Everywhere All at Once” clinched the prestigious Best Picture award, amongst several others. Notable victories included accolades for stars such as Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Brendan Fraser, and Jamie Lee Curtis.

As the curtain falls on Sky’s illustrious Oscars chapter, the UK’s film aficionados await to see where they’ll tune in for their next Oscars experience. The unfolding drama behind the scenes, concerning broadcasting rights and economic challenges, is perhaps an unexpected subplot in the Oscars’ storied legacy.



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