Ratings Increase 3% for ABC's Oscars

Seth MacFarlane Gamble Goosed Ratings of Viewers 18 and 49 by 11%

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ABC said the overall audience for its 2013 Oscars telecast rose 3% from last year's event, while viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 rose 11%, in a sign the Disney network's gamble on host Seth MacFarlane -- a relative unknown element in front of the camera -- offered a slight return.

Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane

About 40.3 million people on average watched the broadcast, ABC said, citing Nielsen data. Last year's Oscars broadcast, hosted by Billy Crystal, drew 39.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen, representing a 4% tick up from the 37.6 million people it drew in 2011, when James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted in a turn that was derided by critics.

The ratings are likely to lend ABC some ballast in its effort to sell ads for the event. ABC was able to secure between $1.65 million and $1.8 million for a 30-second spot in this year's Oscars broadcast, according to media buyers and others familiar with the tone of negotiations, up slightly from the $1.6 million to $1.7 million ABC secured for Oscars-telecast commercials in 2012.

Executives at the network said interest in the 2013 telecast was more intense than in past years. The network was largely sold out of its Oscars inventory by Christmas of 2012.

ABC said the Oscars broadcast drew greater numbers than the 2013, trumping NBC's Golden Globes broadcast by 20.6 million viewers and CBS's Grammys telecast by 11.9 million viewers.

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