Friday, February 22, 2008

The Nielsen Company's 2008 Guide to the Academy Awards

21 Feb 2008 19:50 Africa/Lagos

The Nielsen Company's 2008 Guide to the Academy Awards

NEW YORK, Feb. 21 /PRNewswire/ --

With the writers strike settled and the 80th Academy Awards confirmed for February 24 in Hollywood, California, The Nielsen Company today released its annual Guide to the Academy Awards, which showcases a wide range of consumer and media information illustrating the enormous impact the Academy Awards has in the U.S.

Among the findings:

-- TELEVISION: The Academy Awards telecast on ABC Network continues to be
one of the highest rated TV events of the year, with last year's award
show attracting more than 41 million U.S. viewers.

-- BOX OFFICE AND BOOK SALES: Box Office figures for most Best Picture
Nominees increased significantly after the Academy Awards nominations
were announced. Sales of books related to nominated movies also rose
after their nominations were announced.

-- MUSIC: Following last year's event, album sales and digital downloads
of songs performed during the Academy Awards telecast surged. Will
this year's nominees reap the same post-Oscars benefits?

-- ONLINE: Oscars buzz in the blogosphere peaked after the February 13
announcement that the show would go on as planned. But perhaps because
this year's event remained in doubt for several months, the Web sites
of nominated films received less traffic this year than in 2007.

-- ADVERTISING: The cost for a 30-second commercial edged up to an all-
time high in 2007, but total ad spending decreased slightly, from $80.7
million in 2006 to $79.9 million in 2007.

-- DEMOGRAPHICS OF ACADEMY AWARD VIEWERS: People in upper to upper-middle
income brackets are almost twice as likely to watch the Oscars
telecast. Of this group, a majority are women at least 35 years old,
college educated, and living in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, or
Pacific regions of the U.S.


In 2007, an average of 41 million Americans tuned in to the ABC Network to watch the Academy Awards, Nielsen Media Research reports. Last year, the event averaged a 23.6% household rating, up slightly from previous years.

The most-watched Academy Award broadcast in the last decade was in 1998 when Titanic was voted Best Picture. That telecast drew 55 million viewers for an average household rating of 34.9%. The lowest rated Oscars in recent years was in 2003 when Chicago was voted Best Picture: only 20% of U.S. homes tuned in for the telecast.

Among local U.S. markets, New York received the highest overall local rating for 2007 (35%), while the second largest local TV audience was in Los Angeles (32%). See Tables 1 and 2 for more details.

Table 1: Television Ratings for Academy Awards Telecasts

Academy Award Year Average Viewers on ABC Network
2007 41 million
2006 39 million
2005 42 million
2004 43 million
2003 33 million
2002 41 million
2001 42 million

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Table 2: Top 10 Local Market Ratings for 2007 Academy Awards Telecast

Market Rank Average Household
Local Market (size) Rating

San Francisco-
Oak-San Jose 6 37.7
Chicago 3 37.1
New York 1 35.3
Los Angeles 2 32
Boston 7 29.2
Washington, DC 9 29.2
Philadelphia 4 27
Atlanta 8 26.8
Houston 10 25.6
Dallas-Ft. Worth 5 24.5

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Note: local TV ratings include data for time-shifted viewing within one week of the awards telecast.

Box Office Sales

Do Academy Award nominations impact the distribution and ticket sales of nominated movies? Nielsen EDI compared the number of theatres showing each movie and ticket sales before and after the nominations were announced on January 22 and found significant increases in most cases (See Tables 3 and 4).

Table 3: Number of Theatres

Weekend Prior to Weekend After
Movie Nominations Nominations % Change

Michael Clayton 33 1,102 3239%
There Will Be Blood 389 885 128%
No Country for Old Men 818 1,107 35%
Atonement 1,291 1,400 8%
Juno 2,534 2,426 -4%

Source: Nielsen EDI

Table 4: Box Office Receipts

Movie Total 3 Total 3
Weekends Prior Weekends After
Nominations Nominations % Change

Michael Clayton $170,893 $5,454,040 3091%
There Will Be Blood $6,843,469 $13,501,867 97%
No Country for Old Men $4,571,298 $6,840,326 50%
Atonement $14,814,820 $8,935,793 -40%
Juno $41,439,508 $22,766,828 -45%

Source: Nielsen EDI

Impressive gross sales are not a requirement for a nominee in the top categories. For example, There Will Be Blood, in movie theaters for seven weeks, earned only $28 million at the U.S. box office through February 14, while fellow nominee Juno pulled in close to $119.5 million since its December 25 release (See Table 5).

Table 5: Cumulative Gross Box Office Sales

Open Date Nominated Movie Gross Box Office Sales

Best Picture

12/5/2007 Juno $119,464,789
11/9/2007 No Country for Old Men $59,042,924
10/5/2007 Michael Clayton $46,550,004
12/26/2007 There Will Be Blood $27,944,883
12/7/2007 Atonement $45,999,123

Best Actor
10/5/2007 Michael Clayton $46,550,004
12/26/2007 There Will Be Blood $27,944,883
12/21/2007 Sweeney Todd $52,127,564
9/14/2007 In the Valley of Elah $6,775,540
9/14/2007 Eastern Promises $17,181,265

Best Actress
10/12/2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age $16,383,509
5/4/2007 Away From Her $4,571,521
6/8/2007 La Vie En Rose $10,072,300
11/28/2007 The Savages $5,380,756
12/5/2007 Juno $119,464,789

Best Director
12/5/2007 Juno $119,464,789
11/9/2007 No Country for Old Men $59,042,924
10/5/2007 Michael Clayton $46,550,004
12/26/2007 There Will Be Blood $27,944,883
11/30/2007 The Diving Bell and the
the Butterfly $4,488,924

Source: Nielsen EDI
*Includes sales data through Feb. 14, 2008.


Nielsen BookScan, which covers 75% of sales in the book industry, took a look at sales of books that are related to the nominated movies. Table 6 below compares total 2007 sales with book sales since the release of the movie related to each title. All data below includes sales for hard and paperback formats.

Table 6: Sales of Books Related to Nominated Movies

Book Sales
Year of 2007 U.S. Film Since Film
Title Author Original Sales Release Release
Publication (units) Date (units)*

Atonement Ian McEwan 2002 295,000 1/4/08 196,000
No Country
for Old Men Cormac McCarthy 2005 160,000 11/21/07 145,000
The Diving Bell
and the Jean-Dominique
Butterfly Bauby 1997 24,000 11/30/07 45,000
Oil! Upton Sinclair 1927 6,000 1/11/08 18,000

Source: Nielsen BookScan

Note: Nielsen BookScan does not track sales of books through WalMart, Sam's, BJ's, airports, or libraries.

*Includes sales data through Feb. 10, 2008.


Billboard's Geoff Mayfield used data from Nielsen SoundScan to analyze sales of songs nominated for this year's Academy Awards. Of the current nominees for Best Original Song, three songs come from Walt Disney's Enchanted. That soundtrack album, released on November 20, 2007, had sold 195,000 copies in the U.S. as of February 10, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Enchanted's three nominated songs -- "Happy Working Song," "So Close," and "That's How You Know" -- have also sold a combined 177,000 digital downloads.

A surprise hit last year, the Once soundtrack -- nominated for "Falling Slowly" -- is also a notable contender this year. The album has sold 343,000 copies since it debuted on May 22, 2007, making it the tenth best-selling soundtrack of 2007. This year's fifth nominee, "Raise It Up," comes from the August Rush soundtrack, which has moved 103,000 copies since its release on November 13, 2007.

Last year, songs from Dreamgirls -- "Listen," "Love You I Do," and "Patience" -- also locked up three out of five nominations in the Best Original Song category. None of the Dreamgirls songs won the Oscar, however. That honor went to Melissa Etheridge's "I Need To Wake Up" from the soundtrack for An Inconvenient Truth.

Despite losing to Etheridge's song, Dreamgirls sales rose 19% after last year's Academy Awards telecast. The album shifted 45,000 copies in the week immediately following the event and finished 2007 as the sixth best-selling soundtrack of the year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. To date, it has sold 1.1 million units in the U.S.

The three nominated songs from Dreamgirls also saw handsome gains in their download sales following last year's Academy Awards. "Love You I Do" sold 6,000 downloads in the first week after the event (a 100% increase), "Patience" downloads increased by 53%, and "Listen" increased downloads jumped by 73%.

Meanwhile, last year's winner, Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up," experienced a 295% gain in downloads in the week of the Academy Awards, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Perhaps viewers, moved by Etheridge's win, rushed to their computers to download her song immediately after the telecast.


In 2007, traffic to the three major Oscar Web sites (,, and reached 1.8 million unique visitors on the day of the awards ceremony, according to Nielsen Online. On the day after the telecast, combined Web traffic to these sites increased 81% to 3.3 million unique visitors. Traffic to these three Web sites grew 183% during the week of the Academy Awards, from 905,000 unique visitors in the previous week to 2.6 million unique visitors in the days leading up to the ceremony.

Last year, grew 88% year over year, from an Oscars week unique audience of 720,000 to 1.4 million.

This year, the writers' strike left the Academy Awards ceremony in doubt for several months, perhaps resulting in less Web traffic to the sites of nominated films. Web sites for this year's Oscar contenders received just 831,000 unique visitors during January 2008 -- compared with 993,000 in January 2007.


Drawing on its database of approximately 70 million blogs, Nielsen Online monitors consumer-generated content on the Internet before, during, and after the Academy Awards to provide advertisers with both quantitative and qualitative insight into virality and the popularity of the event and the nominees.

Table 7 shows the percentage of blog buzz related to this year's Best Actor and Actress nominees. With 32.24% buzz volume, Johnny Depp dominated Academy Awards discussion on blogs. Depp far outpaced George Clooney, who claimed second place, with 13.74% of the blog buzz. Laura Linney was least buzzworthy.

Table 7: Blog Buzz Online

% of Internet Buzz Related to Oscars Among
All Best Actor Candidates
Best Actor Nominees (Last 90 Days)*

Johnny Depp 32.24%
George Clooney 13.74%
Ellen Page 10.84%
Daniel Day-Lewis 9.56%
Cate Blanchett 9.27%
Tommy Lee Jones 6.56%
Viggo Mortensen 5.29%
Julie Christie 4.74%
Marion Cotillard 4.40%
Laura Linney 3.36%
Source: Nielsen Online
*Includes data from Nov. 17, 2007 - Feb. 14, 2008.


The members of The Nielsen Company's new consumer-driven opinion network, Hey! Nielsen (, who recently rated ads during the Super Bowl, are now making predictions on who will win Oscar gold. The predictions in eight major categories reveal a few clear front-runners: Daniel Day-Lewis, Javier Bardem, and Ratatouille, to name a few. There are also several tight races heading into Oscars night. In the Best Actress category, newcomer Ellen Page holds a slim lead over double-nominee Cate Blanchett, while Blanchett and Ruby Dee are tied in the Best Supporting Actress contest. The full results are compiled in Table 8 below.

Table 8: Hey! Nielsen Academy Award Winner Predictions

Category Leading Nominees % of Votes

Best Picture No Country for Old Men 35%
Best Actor Daniel Day Lewis
(There Will Be Blood) 46%
Best Supporting Actor Javier Bardem
(No Country for Old Men) 42%
Best Actress Ellen Page (Juno) 33%
Best Supporting Actress Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There) 26%
Ruby Dee (American Gangster) 26%
Best Director Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
(No Country for Old Men) 44%
Best Animated Film Ratatouille 81%
Best Documentary Sicko 37%

Source: Hey! Nielsen
*Includes data collected from Feb. 5 - Feb. 19, 2008

Advertising Trends

Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the competitive advertising intelligence service of The Nielsen Company, analyzed advertising for the 2007 Academy Awards telecast and found:

-- Movies nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best
Director spent more than $102 million on advertising during 2007.
-- The last year's event had a total of 24 commercial minutes during the 3
hour and 10 minute televised broadcast on ABC Network, down slightly
from 24 1/2 minutes of advertising in 2006.
-- The cost for a 30-second ad rose slightly from $1.65 million in 2006 to
$1.67 million in 2007.
-- Twenty-seven unique brands aired a total of 38 national advertisements
in the 2007 broadcast.

Advertising Spending

In 2007, movies nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Director spent more than $102 million on advertising in the U.S. Michael Clayton, which was nominated in three of the four categories, spent $27.6 million-more than any other movie, while There Will Be Blood, also nominated in three categories, spent the least: $404,618 (See Table 9).

Spending on movies nominated in the Best Actor category reached $59.4 million in 2007, accounting for almost 60% of total advertising expenditures. In comparison, the movies in the Best Actress category spent only $26.1 million on advertising. Movies nominated for Best Director and Best Picture spent just over $45 million each on advertising.

Table 9: Advertising Spending

Jan. 2007 -
Movie Nominee Nov. 2007 $

Best Picture
Michael Clayton n/a $27,566,058
No Country for Old Men n/a $15,803,659
Atonement n/a $1,069,970
Juno n/a $695,846
There Will Be Blood n/a $404,618

Best Actor
Michael Clayton George Clooney $27,566,058
Eastern Promises Viggo Mortensen $15,193,993
In the Valley of Elah Tommy Lee Jones $11,823,644
Sweeney Todd Johnny Depp $4,422,039
There Will Be Blood Daniel Day-Lewis $404,618

Best Actress
Elizabeth: The Golden Age Cate Blanchett $20,908,766
La Vie En Rose Marion Cotillard $2,104,227
Away From Her Julie Christie $1,392,853
The Savages Laura Linney $970,855
Juno Ellen Page $695,846

Best Director
Michael Clayton Tony Gilroy $27,566,058
No Country for Old Men Joel Coen and
Ethan Coen $15,803,659
Juno Jason Reitman $695,846
The Diving Bell and
the Butterfly Julian Schnabel $531,715
There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson $404,618

Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus

Commercial Minutes

Over the past five years, the number of commercial minutes in the Academy Awards telecasts ballooned from 24 minutes in 2003 to a high of 27 1/2 minutes in 2005 (See Table 10). By 2007, that number had shrunk back to 24 minutes -- the same commercial duration as in 2003.

Table 10: Commercial Minutes

Year Commercial Duration (Minutes:Seconds)
2007 24:00
2006 24:30
2005 27:30
2004 27:00
2003 24:00

Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus
Note: Commercial Minutes exclude promotional announcements

Average Cost for a 30-Second Commercial

The average cost for a 30-second commercial has increased 23% over the past five years-from $1.35 million in 2003 to $1.67 million in 2007 (See Table 11). Total advertising expenditures decreased slightly last year, from $80.7 million in 2006 to $79.9 million in 2007.

Table 11: Average Cost Per 30-Second Commercial

Academy Award Average Cost Per
Year 30-Second Commercial Best Picture Winner

2007 $1,665,800 The Departed
2006 $1,646,800 Crash
2005 $1,503,000 Million Dollar Baby
2004 $1,503,100 Lord of the Rings:
Return of the King
2003 $1,345,800 Chicago
2002 $1,290,000 A Beautiful Mind
2001 $1,450,000 Gladiator
2000 $1,305,000 American Beauty
1999 $1,000,000 Shakespeare in Love
1998 $950,000 Titanic
1997 $850,000 The English Patient
1996 $795,000 Braveheart
1995 $700,000 Forrest Gump
1994 $643,500 Schindler's List
1993 $607,800 Unforgiven

Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus

Top Advertisers During the 2007 Telecast

For the second consecutive year, General Motors was the top advertiser, with 3 1/2 minutes of commercial time -- 30 seconds less than it aired when it claimed the top advertising slot during the 2006 Academy Awards telecast. Coca-Cola, L'Oreal, and J.C. Penney rounded out the top four advertisers for the 2007 telecast (See Table 12).

These four companies have held the top Oscars advertising slots since 2006. Coca-Cola replaced Pepsi-Cola as the leading soft drink advertiser beginning in 2006, and L'Oreal became a major Academy Awards advertiser in 2005.

Table 12: 2007 Top Advertisers

Advertiser Commercial Time (Seconds)

General Motors Corp. 210
Coca-Cola Company 180
L'Oreal 180
J.C. Penney 150

Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus

2007 Advertisers: Old and New

Beyond last year's top four, McDonald's, which aired two commercials during the 2007 event, and American Express, which aired a 120-second spot that was the longest running commercial of the telecast, hold the distinction of being the only two companies that have advertised during the last 14 Academy Awards telecasts.

There were also several notable, new advertisers last year. Apple previewed its iPhone with three 30-second spots, and Unilever aired a 60- second Dove Cream Body Wash spot created by the winner of a contest that asked women to create commercials for Unilever's new Dove product.

Viewing the Commercials

To view full-motion commercials, storyboards, and ratings from past Academy Awards telecasts, visit Nielsen's Monitor-Plus website at

Commercials from this year's Academy Awards will be posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2008.


According to data from Spectra, a Nielsen marketing service that measures lifestyle behaviors of American consumers, almost 60% of Academy Awards viewers are women. Among this group, most were at least 35 years old, college educated with incomes of at least $75,000 per year, and living in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, or Pacific regions of the U.S.

In general, these viewers live in upscale suburban areas or major urban centers (40%) and are either live in large families with older children (age 6 and older), or are older couples (age 35 and older) with no children. Academy Award viewers also tend to be health conscious consumers of wine, nuts, pretzels, yogurt, liquor, health bars, trail mix, coffee, pudding and popcorn.

Additional data from Claritas, Nielsen's marketing research unit, indicates that Academy Awards viewers are predominantly in upper to upper- middle income brackets. These "upper crust" viewers are twice as likely to watch the show. Conversely, people in lower to lower-middle income categories-for examples, downscale retirees-are half as likely to watch the Oscars telecast.

About The Nielsen Company

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more that 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit,

Source: The Nielsen Company

CONTACT: Nielsen EDI: Anne Saini, +1-646-654-8691; Nielsen Online: Suzy
Bausch +1-408-941-2965, or Sandra Parrelli, +1-646-654-7772; Nielsen Monitor-
Plus: Jamillah Wright, +1-646-654-8357; Nielsen SoundScan: Anna Loynes,
+1-213-639-6167; Nielsen BookScan: Whitney Jacoby, +1-914-684-5505; Nielsen
Media Research: Anne Saini, +1-646-654-8691; Claritas: Steve Moore,
+1-858-677-9634; Spectra: Jennifer Frighetto, +1-847-605-5686

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