Oscars: How Many People Watch the Ceremony Worldwide?

Oscar Statuette Generic Art - H 2013
Getty Images

Oscar Statuette Generic Art - H 2013

THR compiles data and estimates for key markets as the Academy used to tout a 1 billion figure, but these days is talking about "several hundred million" viewers.

Are the Oscars the global version of the Super Bowl, a huge TV draw that a worldwide audience doesn’t want to miss?

The Academy, for one, at one point used to claim that 1 billion people watch the Oscars globally every year. The billion-viewer figure appears to have first been cited, without attribution, in a 1985 wire story by The Associated Press, and it still gets cited every now and then to this day.

The Academy later started speaking of "several hundred million" viewers, a figure also contained in this year's Oscars fact sheet. Since 1969, the Oscars ceremony has been aired internationally, and the broadcast now reaches film fans in more than 225 countries, according to the Academy fact sheet.

But finding Oscar ratings for various countries outside the U.S. is challenging. Nielsen, which reports the U.S. audience for the awards every year, and other ratings agencies contacted by The Hollywood Reporter didn't have global viewership data to share.

With TV ratings in many countries not reported or disclosed, it is hard to get a complete picture of how many people watch the kudocast in various parts of the world every year. But the fact that in many big markets the live show airs in the middle of the night, that it airs on cable or satellite TV channels that have a limited number of subscribers and that many countries have their own big annual film awards means that the Oscars ceremony draws much smaller audiences outside the U.S.

Any estimates of the global audience depend to a large degree on how one calculates viewership. For example, estimates that include people who watch TV news coverage of the Academy Award winners are higher than ones that focus only on live viewership.

THR asked for 2015 viewing figures or estimates for the Oscars telecast, live and replayed, in key international markets and has compiled the data. While the info below doesn't add up to several hundred millions and doesn't provide a perfect look, it gives a feel for the audience in many major markets.

And though the Academy Awards typically draw the biggest live audience of the year for any entertainment program in the U.S., the show is handily beaten by the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl's U.S. audience in 2015 amounted to a record 114.5 million for the game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

Read the results below for the 2015 Oscars ratings as far as THR could compile them.

USA, 37.3 million
The 2015 edition of the Oscars ceremony averaged 37.3 million total viewers in the U.S., the lowest audience since 2009, according to Nielsen. In 2014, the biggest audience since 2000 was reached with 44 million viewers, up 8 percent from 2013.

Canada, 5.5 million
The ‎2015 edition drew an audience of 5.52 million total viewers in Canada, down from 6.4 million in 2014. The Academy Awards pre-show drew around 3.1 million viewers, and video views of Oscar clips and highlights were three times greater than in 2014. That included 55,000 views of the exclusive press-room camera feed.

Latin America, 5.45 million
In Brazil, 2.726 million viewers saw the ceremony on Globo in the country’s two main cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, according to figures reported there. On cable in Brazil, TNT said it reached 17 percent more viewers in 2015 than in 2014, when 505,000 people watched at least a minute of the ceremony. That makes for about 590,000 viewers in 2015. In Argentina, TNT says it reached 1.5 million viewers with its coverage of the Academy Awards ceremony and red carpet in 2015. While 2015 data wasn’t available for Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, TNT said in 2014 that about 248,000 people in Peru watched at least a minute of the ceremony that year, almost 196,000 in Colombia and almost 185,000 in Venezuela.

India, 4.5 million
Star Movies, hotstar
The 2015 Oscars aired on the 21st Century Fox-owned Star Movies channel in India. The live telecast began around 6 a.m. local time, with a repeat at 9 p.m. Star Movies says its total viewership amounted to 2.39 million viewers for both the live and repeat airings. For the 2014 awards, the only figure available was for the live telecast, which Star Movies said had 900,000 viewers, marking its highest recorded audience in the last five years. The 2015 Oscars were also streamed live on Star's recently launched digital platform hotstar for the first time, reaching 2.1 million people.

Mexico, 3.8 million
TV Azteca Channel 7 and TNT
The show aired at 5:30 p.m. local time. Viewers reached 3.2 million on TV Azteca and 626,000 on TNT 626,000, according to research center HR Media. The total viewers for the Oscars in the Mexico City metropolitan area bested the comparable figures for the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight. A report from HR Media says the 87th Oscars generated strong interest in Mexico because it was the second straight year that a Mexican was nominated for best picture and actor. And with The Revenant director Alejandro G. Inarritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki nominated again this year, it makes the third straight year of Mexican contenders in key categories.

Middle East, 2.2 million
No data was available for 2015. UAE-based pan-Arab channels Dubai One (English) and Dubai TV (Arabic) aired the Oscars live in 2014, starting at around 3 a.m. local time. There were no ratings available for the live airing. But a same-day rerun at 7 p.m. in 2014 was estimated to have picked up just more than 2.18 million viewers. The vast majority of viewing came from the UAE’s non-Arab audience.

U.K., around 1.08 million
Pay TV giant Sky again renamed its Sky Movies Greats network Sky Oscars for the night of the ceremony. Airing live, it reached 96,300 viewers, with an afternoon replay drawing 33,400 viewers, according to data from overnights.tv. A Sky Living replay of highlights the next night at 9 p.m. averaged 310,800, with a Sky Oscars replay at the same time reaching 36,400. That brought the total audience for the Oscar ceremony to 476,900. Sky Living is a basic channel that anyone on Sky can watch, whereas Sky Movies Greats, or Sky Oscars, has an extra monthly cost. The red-carpet coverage on the channels drew a live audience of 164,600 viewers, with a replay of highlights reaching an additional 158,700 people. Overall, 1,493,000 U.K. viewers watched at least thre minutes of the seven transmissions of the ceremony or red carpet. The four Oscars ceremony transmissions in 2015 alone reached 1.083 million viewers.

Japan‎, maximum estimate 1 million
Wowow satellite channel
No viewing figures are available for the live airing starting at 9 a.m. Monday morning local time or a repeat at 9 p.m. The company has 2.85 million subscribers, and the estimated maximum audience for the Oscars is believed to be below the 1 million mark. A TV analyst, who declined to speak on record, said, "I'd be very surprised if they reach a million viewers."

Scandinavia, maximum estimate of around 1 million
In Scandinavia, the Oscars are carried on smaller cable channels, which don't report ratings. But estimates put them in the high six- to low seven-figure range for all of Scandinavia.

Australia, 780,000
Nine Network
Free-to air-network Nine is the longtime broadcaster of the Oscars in Australia. Nine has aired the ceremony live for the last few years, meaning it airs on the East Coast of Australia starting at 11:30 a.m. local time. Nine then repeats the telecast at 9 p.m. on one of its secondary digital channels. In 2015, the ceremony was watched live by an average of 465,000 Australian viewers nationally, and an additional 316,000 watched the show on delay on the same night, according to metropolitan and regional ratings data. Nine is hoping those figures will grow this year as it will also live-stream the Oscars via its online TV service and Mad Max: Fury Road scored various nominations.

South Korea, 700,000-plus
CJ E&M's cable network Channel CGV
Cable movie channel Channel CGV has been airing the awards live for the past several years, starting around 6-7 a.m. local time, followed by one or two highlights shows at a later time and/or date. According to the network, the live show reached an estimated 700,000-plus viewers in recent years, with numbers rising to nearly 760,000 in 2013. This year, analysts say figures may go up further as actor Lee Byung-hun (Terminator: Genisys) will take the stage to present an award, the first time for a local actor to do so. In addition, soprano Sumi Jo, a national icon, is a nominee in the best original song category for "Simple Song" from the film Youth.

Russia, 540,000-plus
Channel One
‎In 2015, just as in 2014, there was no live broadcast of the Oscars in Russia. State-run free-to-air network Channel One aired a 90-minute taped version of the awards ceremony about 20 hours after the ceremony took place in Hollywood, which reached 543,400 viewers, according to TNS Global.

Germany, 470,000
470,000 people watched the 2015 Oscars live on German commercial network ProSieben starting at 1:30 a.m. local time. In 2014, an average of 630,000 viewers watched the show live; in 2013, it was 450,000; and in 2012, the ceremony drew 570,000 viewers.

China, 365,000-plus
In China, the Oscars ceremony is carried live at 9:30 a.m. local time. For the second year, the exclusive live broadcast rights have gone to M1905, the official online video site of the state broadcaster’s movie channel CCTV6. The awards will also be shown on the CCTV6 movie channel itself later in the day. CCTV did not release viewer numbers for the 2015 show. In 2014, the Oscars were carried by several of China's leading streaming video services, including Sohu, Sina and iQiyi. The show had a combined viewership of 366,800 people across the platforms, with total viewing hours of 38,400 hours, an average of 6.28 minutes per person, according to research firm iResearch.

Italy, 253,000
Sky Italia
In Italy in 2015, where the ceremony aired live on Sky Italia’s Sky and its free-to-air channel Cielo, red-carpet arrivals, which aired at 11 p.m. local time, reached 315,000 viewers in the average minute ratings, with the ceremony at 2:30 a.m. reaching 113,000. During the ceremony, Cielo was the second-most-watched channel in Italy. With the ceremony and first-day replays, the kudocast reached 253,000 viewers. The total reach for the two channels was 2.48 million.

France, 103,000
Approximately 103,000 viewers watched an unencrypted live telecast in the middle of the night, according to a ratings organization. Figures for a repeat Monday evening behind the CanalPlus pay TV wall weren’t disclosed.

Netherlands, estimated 100,000-plus
Film1, a cable pay TV outlet owned by Sony
The channel, which Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired from John Malone’s Liberty Global in late March 2015, unscrambled the ceremony for non-members, but did not reveal ratings info. Given that the channel has limited reach and audience, its audience is likely in the low six-figure range at most.

South Africa, 57,000 viewers
M-Net Movies Premiere
The 2015 Oscars live telecast aired in South Africa on pay TV operator M-Net's M-Net Movies Premiere channel starting at 3:30 a.m. local time. According to ratings service TVSA, 24,000 viewers tuned in on average across the live airing. In addition, a replay aired 7:30-10:30 p.m. that same night, drawing roughly 33,000 viewers. TVSA says there may have been added delayed viewership, which it was unable to source, but said those numbers would have been marginal.

Spain, 48,000
Canal Plus
The live telecast on the pay channel last year drew only 13,000 viewers due to the late hour in Europe, according to Kantar Media. A primetime replay drew 35,000.

Rest of Asia, N/A
HBO Asia has the rights to the Oscars across 17 territories in Asia, and the awards show is available exclusively in nine of those territories: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palau, Singapore and Vietnam. The Oscars will be streamed live on HBO Go in select territories, too. The Singapore-based HBO Asia will also have its own crew on the red carpet in Los Angeles and various backstage cameras capturing off-air moments that can be seen via the HBO Asia Oscars website. HBO Asia does not reveal viewership numbers. In many of these developing Southeast Asian countries, HBO Asia is a premium cable offering, meaning it is mostly within reach of the upper-middle classes.

Total international audience that THR found data for: 27.95 million-plus

Worldwide total audience that THR found data for: 65.246 million-plus