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Posts Tagged ‘oscars’

Latest data has Oscars Ratings up about 6% (see here and here), a little above 30 million viewers.

This was inline with what I imagined.

If you’re looking for Winners and actual info on the show, here ya go and here.

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Update 2/23 – Oscars Ratings up about 10% (see here and here) putting the ratings around 33 million. Not a great bump from recent trends…  Review the last 50 years of ratings here.  

Certainly the show was better than in the last decade, but as someone commented below… the movies nominated largely had small fan bases and Hugh Jackman, though very talented, also has a smallish fan base. To get the extra 5-10 million viewers above the base of 30 million  it really does appear that the fan base size of the nominated pitches matters – biggest years feature some of the biggest movies (and movie stars) or all time – See Titantic, Forest Gump, Ghandi, Braveheart.  Recession and raging wars seem to dampen viewership – see 1968, 69, 86,87, 2003.  (in 2003 it was held in march and competed with first Operation Iraqi Freedom mission and March Madness basketball).

All that said, the households tuning into the Oscars is largely unchanged in 50 years.  Some 21 million plus homes watch it every year.  Only in the year of Titanic, the most popular box office film ever, was the telecast audience significantly changed.  The issue of Oscar ratings comes down to the expectation of growth.  I can’t find a telecast, other than the SuperBowl, maintaining this size of an audience for so long.  Perhaps an interesting question might be why we expect the Oscar audience to grow when the movie going audience hasn’t really grown and the Internet’s dominance in celebrity has (see below).

If you’re looking for results, here ya go and here.

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It’s about 2 hours to showtime.

The ratings will be down again, despite efforts to liven up the show.  The ratings troubles have nothing to do with the show nor do they even reflect the public overall interest in the Oscars.  

Somewhat related to my post yesterday, the Internet is destroying any media franchise that draws audience primarily on gossip, pics of celebrity and “results”.  The Internet provides all of that better than TV does (like Time’s live blog), without the 4 hours of TV commitment and annoying commercials.

Yes, of course, competing media, the recession and general lack of Oscar marketing isn’t helping the ratings.

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And the 2009 Oscar Nominees are…. (see last years review last years nominees)

Best Picture:

  • Benjamin Button
  • Frost Nixon
  • MILK
  • The Reader
  • SlumDog Millionaire

Main points of note: Heath Ledger gets a nod, Slumdog Millionaire is still the darling, Meryl Streep is up yet again, Dark Knight didn’t get a nomination. get the rest of today’s nominees here.

blah blah blah

The Academy Awards are such a funny thing.  Like blogs, it’s content about content.  It’s not really “content unto itself”.  Content about content is bound to the quality and audience sway of that underlying content it makes commentary on.  In that way, the Academy Awards have a difficult situation in trying to seem legit in honoring truly remarkable films while attending to the facts that a diminished awards show audience doesn’t want to see a show all about indie films and no names.

As CNN notes:

Either way, the Oscars could probably use the ratings help a box office success can bring to its broadcast. In recent years, the Academy has nominated several independent or low-budget films for top awards, many of which didn’t crack the $100 million mark at the box office. Oscar ratings have tumbled; last year’s numbers for “the Super Bowl for women” — as the Oscar broadcast is known by advertisers — were the lowest on record and a far cry from 1998, when more than 55 million people watched all-time box office king “Titanic” take home the top prize.

Again, very similar to blogs and web traffic.  If I don’t blog about the oscars or post pictures and stories from the ceremony, my blog will get buried. Any website that doesn’t talk about the Oscars will get slightly less traffic today than those that do.  Perhaps that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, except when you consider what a dog fight it is in the publishing and media industry to get advertisers right now.  And getting those ad dollars is directly correlated to daily traffic numbers (ratings!).

Perhaps more blogs and media outlets should try to create original content and develop first party audience.  Unfortunately, it’s too expensive and has a very low probability for success.  The data demonstrates this.

There’s a fine line to ride here and more often than not it’s crossed on blogs, in newspapers, and the Oscars.  Some purists and critics will cry fowl, but in the end, money talks.

Useful coverage:

more coverage from Washington Post

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John Bryant writes:

At the 80th Academy Awards Sunday Feb. 24th, 2008, an actress stood up and said that her award is an “accident” because she didn’t know how she got up there to receive her Oscar. No one can attend to the how this particular Oscar award came to be.  Besides “accident” being monocausalitis (see definition below) itself, she was probably responding to reality for her.  There are so many variables and interactions involved in winning an Oscar it is very hard for a person to ‘understand’ with any empirical certainty how it did happen!   That loosely translated to her as an “accident”.  Giving it a ‘cause’ like fate, luck, Buddha or alignment of the stars is preposterous.

 

Monocausalitis

 

Yes, it is a made up word but it represents a very serious brain freeze. Humans drift to monocausalitis whenever possible.  Quick links between one event and another are reinforced by others due to…

 

Û competition

Û access

Û information

Ü absolutism

Û # of approaches

Ü data validation

 

Simply put, “one problem; one solution” can also be seen as one event, one reason; one effect, one cause.  Very MBA-driven and very superficial science. 

 

Ernst Poppel coined the term in an Edge.com paper as far as I know.  Ernst is the neuroscientist and Director of the Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Munich and says that humans are victims of “evolutionary heritage being satisfied only if one and only one cause for a solution to a problem is identified.” I think that conclusion is bunk but it is an interesting launching point.

 

Single causes are simple, complete and represent closure in a life that seems increasingly complex and that escapes both understanding and conclusions. 

 

I am not sure that evolution is involved in monocausalitis as Poppel has suggested other than that detection of things in the environment is part of selection by consequences.  The consequences for finding a single or major ‘cause’ are almost universally reinforced.  Thus, the strategy that goes in that direction is repeated over and over; taught, mimicked, and copied. You see it all the time:

  • Book of the month revealing…
  • Cop shows… Game shows… Law and order brands…
  • Guru solution for…
  • Stock on the move due to…
  • Magic cures…
  • What the government (doctor, lawyer, baker, hair dresser, etc.) doesn’t want you to know…
  • Reasons for this, that, or the other thing…

 

The behavior of organisms is frickin’ complex.  Simplistic connections between behavior, world hunger, war, peace space exploration or a Super Bowl win are junk despite being the daily fare from Foxy talking heads cleverly passing themselves off as “newstainment.”  Move on.  Even the relationship between a PowerBar and getting homework done is not 1:1.  Fill your head with something you can count on: multi-causal relationships.

 

The scientific basis of the behavior or organism’s hasn’t advanced much for a zillion or reasons.  the ease with which we can claim a person is ‘evil’, talented, dumb, biased, towel head, female, liberal, fundamentalist, ADD or this and that dilutes any substantive understanding of behavior by helping to keep behavior ethereal rather than tackling its existing complexities.  

 

Don’t take my word for it!  Test monocausalitis for yourself.  If you can find a ‘single cause’ for anything send it to this sight.  We’ll post it and any information you can provide for others to rejoice in.   Believe me, it will be a big deal and the start of some awesome conversations.

 

If you see the telltale signs of monocausalitis anywhere, be suspicious, be very suspicious.  If you can, dig deeper.  In science, trust is not a virtue. 

 

Understand that the idea of ‘cause’ itself is not exactly cogent with what we know about how things work in the universe.  For 5 decades ‘cause’ has been a very low credibility concept of a mechanistic or Newtonian ilk.  Poppel’s appeal to end it in everyday usage is refreshing but improbable.  As a way of speaking, and thus thinking, it is too well established to have it go away swiftly.

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