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ITV’s Oscars Broadcast Brings In Peak Audience of Over 1 Million

ITV took a gamble when they snatched the U.K. broadcast rights to the Oscars away from Sky after two decades and it looks like the gamble paid off.

The three-hour plus show averaged 551,000 viewers on Sunday evening. At its peak, around 10.16pm, 1.1 million were watching.

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Last year’s show on Sky averaged 95,000 viewers while a highlights cut the following evening garnered 141,000.

ITV1 are set to air highlights of the show on Monday evening while the full simulcast is still available to watch on streaming platform ITVX.

In Italy live Oscars telecast scored a roughly 15% audience share on state broadcaster RAI’s flagship RAI-1 station with a peak of 1.9 million viewers, according to national ratings compiler Auditel. This year marked the return of the live Oscars telecast on RAI after airing exclusively on Comcast-owned Sky Italia for many years.

The Oscars has always been a tricky proposition in Europe, in large part due to the eight-hour time difference with L.A., meaning viewers who want to sit through the entire ceremony usually need to stay up until the early hours of Monday morning. This year’s show took place an hour earlier than usual and also benefited from the U.S. daylight savings time being out of sync with Europe (where clocks will go forward on March 31), meaning the ceremony aired in a marginally more civilized 11 p.m.-2.30 a.m slot in the U.K. and from midnight to 3.30 a.m. in Western Europe.

ITV went big in its inaugural Oscars year, offering viewers a wrap-around show starting at 10.15 p.m. and ending at 2.30 a.m, hosted by Jonathan Ross (who was joined by guests including “The Hobbit” star Richard Armitage and “Cold Feet” actor Faye Ripley) as well as behind-the-scenes content on its proprietary streaming platform ITVX. In the run-up to the ceremony the streamer also offered a host of Oscar-winning and -nominated movies from previous years as well as broadcasting the nominations ceremony in January.

Although ITV declined to confirm how much they paid Disney for the multi-year broadcast rights, ITVX managing editor Craig Morris told Variety before the show: “Increasingly, people don’t just want to know what money you’re prepared to pay — it’s part of the discussion, obviously — I think they want to know, “What are you going to do with this?” I’m sure what was attractive was we’ve got a big home for it across streaming and linear. They obviously wanted to know what we wanted to do, but we were full of ideas.”

ITV will be releasing their own audience numbers, including streaming figures, later this week.

Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report

Correction: A previous version of this story reported that ITV’s Oscars broadcast peaked at 10.30 p.m. with 1.9 million viewers.

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