Oscar ratings double in India

'Slumdog' also fuels ad revenue for telecast

Related: Mumbai savors 'Slumdog' sweep

NEW DELHI -- Boosted by multiple nominations for hometown favorite "Slumdog Millionaire," viewership of the live Academy Awards telecast on News Corp.'s Star Movies channel more than doubled from last year.

About 1.4 million viewers in India tuned in the live broadcast, compared with about 600,000 in 2008, according to data from Mumbai-based ratings agency aMap.

Meanwhile, Star Movie's Monday night primetime replay of this year's Oscars garnered 1.9 million viewers, compared with 1.2 million from the year before.

With both telecasts viewed by more than 3 million viewers, industry estimates indicate that this represents well over 3% of India's total number of cable and satellite TV viewers, the highest percentage the Oscar telecast has ever garnered here. This year's telecast garnered the highest-ever number of viewers for Star Movies since the channel began airing the Oscars in 1999. Previously, the Oscars were telecast on statecaster Doordarshan.

By contrast, Indian film awards telecasts garner massive viewership according to aMap, which stated that last year's International Indian Film Academy Awards, held in Bangkok, were watched by 13.4 million viewers on Hindi entertainment channel Star Plus.

Given the euphoria around "Slumdog Millionaire," this year's Oscar telecast also pulled in healthy advertising revenue, with Star Movies signing up 12 sponsors including consumer electronics giant LG, Hewlett Packard, L'Oreal and Hyundai among others. Industry estimates reckon that 10-second spots were sold for between $730-$833, a premium of 15%-20% over last year.

"Clearly, the nation was celebrating as the viewership of the Oscar telecast more than doubled this year and the spell lasted till the repeat telecast on primetime," aMap CEO Amit Varma said.
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