Oscars Tips 2015

The Oscars is the annual “big story” happening live on ABC affiliates. ABC stations can think of this as not just a one night broadcast but a multiple day party across multiple platforms.

Your goal can be to grow the ratings of the Oscars but we can also look to growing the shoulder programming around the event including the morning newscast the next day as well as growth of our digital and social engagement with the audience as they watch this event with their smart phone or tablet. GMA often has one of their bigger ratings days so there is a unique opportunity to retain much of the audience to your am efforts on all screens.

All parts of the station can be engaged in what is the “Super Bowl” opportunity for ABC. It won’t command Super Bowl numbers but does make news and is the national talker from the moment stars step on the red carpet.

We recommend that you have a three screen Oscars czar this weekend, a leader who can help your team realize the full potential of this news event that is occurring on your air. This czar can help us fight against two challenges…the Walking Dead could draw away some viewers, as it did to the Grammy Awards…and the czar can help the station increase interest in an Oscars night that will be focused on many nominated movies that are not big box office hits.


You can build anticipation by having your team talk about the movies and stars up for awards. Much of this conversation can occur in social media with talent and the station page appropriately sharing information about the movies up for this year. Your team can encourage people to print out Oscars ballots and to binge watch the movies in the days leading up to the show. Some stations are asking their on-air teams to fill in ballots and share their predictions in advance of the night. 

Stations can also engage their partners, radio and newspapers, to also share information about the movies and celebrities who will be up for awards. The station and these partners can share interesting facts and graphics related to the movies to help build interest in the nominees.

An event of this international magnitude may merit the a countdown on all screens to the beginning of the programming including a push notification and/or an e-mail for the beginning of the coverage. These can be written in advance and freshened with the latest developments regarding this international cultural event.


It was reported that last year more than eleven million people had 25.4 million interactions on Facebook regarding the Oscars. Stations can be part of this conversation by having their team be listening to and sharing interesting social media posts with their audience in addition to their own posts during the event.

This live conversation that the Oscars and the hosts and stars will be having with the audience could be an essential ingredient in recruiting the audience to the program and retaining the audience as the moments take place. If a station team ignores this conversation, they may miss an opportunity to connect with local viewers and to add a local perspective on this national show. A live blog or story can capture many of these social elements for use on the station’s digital platforms.

A station can anticipate sharing some of the red carpet moments and fashions and then offering real time observations as the evening unfolds. Major awards can be recognized with posts that point to stars and movies using graphic elements created in advance. Many of these elements can be offered as an instant slideshow or gallery that can exist on the website and mobile platform and offered in social as new elements are added.


The best moments and fashions from the Oscars will fuel conversations long after the final award is given out. A station can point to how their station has complete up to the minute coverage of the parties and reactions to the awards overnight.

The station should certainly have the ambition of retaining Oscar viewers to watch the team’s local news the next morning. Historically the next morning has been one of the strongest of the year for Good Morning America which suggests it can be a big sampling opportunity for local newscasts. By being present in social, on the mobile and digital platforms, the station can confirm during the event and after that the station has new content around what America (and the world) is talking about. At the very least, the station can plan on the seven (or the station’s channel number) best moments you might have missed from the awards show and the night of celebrations that follows, a great front page story for the website on Monday morning and perfect for talent to share in social with their own favorite moment throughout Monday.

ABC’s Affiliate Marketing team has a wide range of resources for stations looking for content to support local efforts. As always, your SmithGeiger consultant can be a great resource for ideas for how to make the Oscars weekend a ratings and digital reach success for your team.