UK's Sky Ends 20-Year Oscars Broadcast Run: A Look at the Decision and Legacy

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UK's Sky Ends 20-Year Oscars Broadcast Run: A Look at the Decision and Legacy

After a 20-year run, UK's Sky will no longer broadcast the Oscars.

Two decades ago, Sky acquired the broadcasting rights from the BBC for the Oscars. In its most recent presentation, the event was aired across four channels: a dedicated Sky Cinema Oscars channel, Sky Showcase, Sky Arts, Sky News, and also streamed on the Now TV platform. The coverage typically spanned from approximately 11 p.m. GMT, coinciding with the commencement of the red carpet proceedings, and extended until roughly 5 a.m. GMT.

Before Sky secured the broadcasting rights, there had been a back-and-forth exchange of these rights between Sky and the BBC, occurring twice within a span of five years. In 2004, the then-BBC Director General Mark Thompson, who later became the CEO of the New York Times a decade later, made a strategic decision for the corporation to be more discerning in its acquisition of U.S. film and TV programming rights, as per reports from that period.

The decision for Sky to discontinue its coverage of the Oscars can be attributed to various factors. Media networks, including Sky, are currently grappling with the effects of a broader economic downturn, prompting them to seek avenues for cost reduction. Parallel to the trends in the United States, viewership of the Oscars among UK audiences has been diminishing in recent years. For instance, this year's live audience on the main Sky Cinema channel numbered around 35,000, a decline from nearly 60,000 viewers in 2022.


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