The 2018 awards season comes to an end this Sunday at the 90th Academy Awards. At the shows leading up to the Oscars, womens movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp have been hot topics, highlighting the importance of female representation and gender equality. After the recent sexual misconduct scandals, many advertisers are betting on women tuning in to see if they will be victorious during Hollywood’s biggest night.
Last year’s broadcast was the second least-watched Oscars, and delivered record low ratings of 32.9 million viewers, with the fewest-ever number of adults in the 18-to-49 demographic (11.7 million). Despite all of this, the ad revenue rose by 9% this year, with a 30-second spot averaging about $2.4 million, with the most expensive spot at $2.6 million, an increase from the $1.9 million ABC charged last year. In recent years, a 30-second Oscar ad typically sold for between $1.8 and $2.2 million.
Many brands are hoping the investment helps them reach women, who make up 62% of the average Oscar viewership. The broadcast will air 16 commercials made specifically for the ceremony, and at least 12 brands bought airtime for spots celebrating female empowerment and inclusivity. “In addition to being the most highly viewed event that celebrates storytelling and excellence in film, the Oscars provides advertisers opportunities to engage with viewers in meaningful ways during a cultural moment they care about,” President of Advertising Rita Ferro said in a statement.
According to a new study from BBC, female-led films earn higher box office returns, despite typically lower production budgets. On average, every dollar invested in a female-led film earns back $2.12; male-led films earn back $1.59. Hidden Figures, the 2016 female-led drama, earned 6.8 times its production budget, and Ladybird, nominated for five Oscars this year, earned 4.2 times.
By all accounts, it will be quite a triumph if a woman takes home the night’s biggest awards. A film with a female perspective hasn’t won Best Picture since Million Dollar Baby in 2005; four of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture this year have a female perspective. Additionally, Greta Gerwig, director of Lady Bird, is vying to become only the second woman to win Best Director in the 90-year history of the Oscars.