Oscars vs. Super Bowl: The Twitter Ratings


By one accounting, the 83rd Academy Awards garnered over 1.2 million tweets, while Super Bowl XLV reportedly generated an estimated 4.5 million tweets.

But the Oscars, of course, is more than the official broadcast from within the Kodak Theater. The online chatter starts with the red carpet pre-show, making it more accurate to compare the number of tweets during the five hours of the Super Bowl (38.5 million) vs. the five hours of the Academy Awards (36.4 million).

So even though the Oscars telecast was deemed something of a snoozefest and trying too hard to court millennials, it was a comparable Twitter hit as a bigger spectacle (and fashion’s biggest night in the public arena).

As Twitter comments on its own blog, the Oscars “was a huge event, with a huge conversation happening around it—not in sharp spikes, but in a broad, sustained surge.”[more]

While both super-events share audience engagement as the penultimate, the tweet currency for Super Bowl was the advertising, while for the Oscars it was the nominees (and what they wore) that generated the most chatter on Twitter.

For Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo, the twitterverse showed a  backlash according to social research technology company NetBase, which created a Brand Passion Index (below) to parse the social media sentiment of the Oscars.

The source of the backlash may have been the two ads Leo took out in Variety, before she was nominated, asking voters to “Consider Melissa.”  And, she chose to wear fur in the ads… which couldn’t have helped. 

“The 50-year old actress was initially very vocal about why the ads were made and said that she paid for them herself as a way to fight back against the ageism in Hollywood that keeps 50-year-old women off magazine covers,” writes the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the win, Leo’s campaigning tactics may have negatively affected her popularity. She also made Oscar history for the first televised f-bomb in an acceptance speech — bleeped just in time by the censors, but placing her alongside the streaker who interrupted David Niven’s 1974 acceptance speech.

In terms of brand winners, Doritos was proclaimed Super Bowl winner for being “most mentioned, thanks to its commercials, accounting for 80,000 tweets, a significant 1.7% of all conversations about the game.”

Social media campaign wins are becoming increasingly nuanced, as a web of factors directly feed the power of a tweet. Moving the needle takes on a whole new meaning in a world of 140 characters.