Tue, February 24, 2009
Entertainment > Celebrity > 81st Annual Academy Awards

Nielsen: Oscar ratings up 13% from last year's record low

2009-02-24 06:47:13 GMT2009-02-24 14:47:13 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Television viewership for Sunday night's live telecast of the 81st Academy Awards ceremony rose 13 percent from last year's record low, according to preliminary figures released Monday by Nielsen Media Research.

This year's Oscar ceremony at the Kodak Theater averaged 36.3 million viewers, television's largest audience for an entertainment program since the 2007 Academy Awards, which averaged 40.17 million viewers, the market research firm said.

Viewership increased among all key demographic groups, including a 22-percent increase among men aged 18 to 34, a group traditionally hard to reach.

The final national figures, scheduled to be released Tuesday, are not expected to change significantly.

Last year's ceremony averaged 32 million viewers when comedian Jon Stewart hosted and the dark-themed "No County For Old Men" was named best picture.

The most-watched ceremony since individual viewership figures began being compiled in 1974 was in 1998, when 55.25 million people tuned in to see box-office-record-setting "Titanic" win best picture.

Last year's record-low ratings prompted organizers to change their traditional format to hand out the awards and to present more dance-and-song performances during the ceremony hosted by Australian actor Hugh Jackman.

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