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Photo: Getty Images

Viewership for Sunday's 93rd Academy Awards is expected to nosedive following a turbulent year for movie studios and theaters.

The big picture: Viewership for live TV events, especially award shows, has dropped during COVID-19.

Yes, but: That doesn't mean ad revenues will plummet.

Data: Nielsen, Kantar Group; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
  • The Oscars are typically the most-watched entertainment event on live TV.
  • Even a shrinking audience is better than most other marketing opportunities for brands, which gives ABC — the network it airs on —leverage to keep ad rates high.
  • ABC is reportedly seeking around $2 million for a 30-second spot this year, per Variety. It sold out ad inventory.

Zoom out: With limited theatrical releases and production on pause, movie studios cut back dramatically on marketing this year. That means viewers are less likely to be familiar with the films up for nominations.

Go deeper

Apr 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Chauvin verdict drew audience of more than 23 million

Screenshot via CNN

TV viewers for the Chauvin verdict topped 23 million, a massive audience for a daytime news event.

Why it matters: Such communal American moments are very rare in the streaming era.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.