The official tally from Nielsen shows that ABCs telecast of the 90th Academy Awards averaged just26.5 milliontelevision viewers, a decline of 20% over last years show and the ceremonys worst viewership ever.

The telecast for the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday dragged on for almost four hours and, in the end, Oscar voters pickedfew surprise winners. But, perhaps the least surprising result of the night was the fact that television ratings for Hollywoods most glamorous evening continued their years-long decline.

Early numbers from media measurement service Nielsen show that the 2018 Oscars ratings may have been some of the lowest ever recorded. Nielsenreportedan 18.9 overnight household rating for Sundays Oscars broadcast, which marks a rating drop of 16% from the 22.4 rating produced by last years telecast. (Nielsens household ratings measure the percentage of homes in the companys metered markets watching a specific program or event.)

Last years Oscars telecast ultimately drew about32.9 milliontotal TV viewers, which was the smallest Academy Awards audience since 2008, hosted by comedian Jon Stewart, attracted 31.8 million viewers. The 2008 Oscars were reportedly the events lowest-rated telecast ever, though last nights show looks like its ratings could come in significantly lower, potentially below 29 million viewers.

Host network ABCs own late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel hosted the event each of the past two years, including during the much talked-about Best Pictureenvelope snafuat the end of the 2017 awards. Any number of factors are often blamed for a low-rated award show, from anunpopular hostto an unnecessarily long telecast or even nomineesleft-leaning politics.

One reason already being offered for the latest dip in Oscars ratings is the fact that this years crop of Best Picture nominees featured few, if any, box-office blockbusters. In fact, the highest box-office gross among the Best Picture nominees belonged to the intense World War II dramaDunkirk($525 million worldwide), which came up short in the major categories but ultimately went home with three Oscars for film editing and sound editing and mixing. The second highest-grossing movie among the primary nominees wasGet Out, with $255 million, which did win director and screenwriterJordan Peele an historic Oscar for its screenplayin one of Sunday nightsmost talked-about moments.

But, a driving factor for the Oscars recent ratings decline is almost certainly the rapidly-changing viewing habits of TV audiences, more and more of whom arechoosing to stream their favorite content online(including on social media) rather than watching live on TV. Notably, Nielsens early ratings do not include digital and mobile viewership (though ABC only allowed viewers with cable subscriptions or live-TV streaming subscriptions tostream last nights Oscars broadcast).

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Ratings for the Grammys dropped 24% this year. The Super Bowl hit a 7-year low. The top scripted network series gets a mere fraction of what the number-one show got 10 or 15 years ago. Its a niche world. And things, as Tony Soprano once said, are trending downward.

Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC)March 5, 2018

Ratings for live broadcasts, including award shows and sporting events, have beensteadily decliningforseveral years now. However, those broadcasts still routinely rank as the most-watched TV broadcasts each year, with last years Oscars ratings making the ceremony thefourth most-watched TV program, behind only Super Bowl LI and the NFLs two conference championships, even with the programs ratings then at a nine-year low.

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