The Oscars loses its home on UK television

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Sky has relinquished the rights to the Academy Awards, leaving the event currently without a UK broadcaster as things stand.

According to a story via The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscars no longer has a home on UK television. Sky, the rights holders of the awards ceremony for almost two decades has given up the rights, choosing not to renew them as the broadcaster looks to tighten its belt in the face of serious economic headwinds.

The news doesn’t come entirely as a surprise, no matter which direction you choose to look at it from. From Sky’s perspective, the value of screening the ceremony has dwindled over the past two decades as viewership has slumped into near-terminal decline. This year, the broadcaster even put the ceremony on its free-to-air channels in a bid to revive interest but it seems that Sky simply can’t find a way to make the Oscars commercially viable.

On a wider level too, the announcement simply crystallises the problem that has long plagued the Oscars: the modern Academy tends to reward lesser-seen films and whilst that might be a noble artistic endeavour, it does not make for huge viewership. Or maybe the films are the problem? Are there not enough movies that are both tentpole and artistic (cough, Barbenheimer, cough,) to allow the Academy to have its cake and eat it?

Add to that the middle-of-the-night viewing time and the whole thing makes for a difficult sell. Of course, someone will pick up the rights (which Disney as rights-holders will now have to shop elsewhere). A streamer perhaps, looking to earn some goodwill from Hollywood (and add to its live events portfolio) but it’s not a good look for the ceremony when broadcasters are dropping the Oscars cold, instead of fighting to stage it on their platform.

Image: BigStock

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