Linda Ong, the chief executive of Cultique, a consulting firm in Los Angeles that advises companies on changing cultural norms, said that people were still interested in the award show’s winners and the things they had to say. The problem for the academy, she said, is that “people don’t feel the need to watch the show to be part of the conversation.”
“They just watch some clips on social,” she added.
Ms. Ong noted that, in a once-unthinkable move that speaks to the Oscars’ fading relevancy, the season finale of HBO’s hugely popular post-apocalyptic drama, “The Last of Us,” will broadcast head-to-head against the ceremony. “That’s a big cultural tell,” she said.
The academy is hopeful that Nielsen’s ratings meters for the Oscars will tick upward on Sunday. Big musical stars, including Rihanna, are scheduled to perform their nominated songs; Lenny Kravitz will perform during the “In Memoriam” segment. Lady Gaga will be absent, though, with Oscars producers saying on Wednesday that she was too busy filming a movie to perform her nominated song from “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The nominee pool for best picture has never before included more than one billion-dollar ticket seller, according to box office databases, and this year there are two. “Top Gun: Maverick” collected $1.5 billion, and “Avatar: The Way of Water” took in $2.3 billion. The front-runner for best picture, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” generated $104 million in ticket sales. (Viewership tends to increase when popular films are nominated.)
But the academy says it’s not just about TV anymore — that relying on Nielsen’s numbers alone to assess relevancy is outdated, and that online chatter and streaming-service viewing should also be taken into account. “We have to rethink our success metrics,” Mr. Kramer said, noting that the Oscars will be available for viewing on Hulu the next day.
Conversations on social media during and after award shows can be significant. Last month’s Grammy Awards, for instance, attracted about 12.6 million viewers. On the day of the ceremony and the next day, the Grammys generated about seven million mentions on Twitter, according to ListenFirst, an analytics company.