The Academy Awards: 

Content Discovery & Streaming Strategies


The Academy Awards, which have been rescheduled for April in 2021, are a hallmark of the movie industry. Lately, more viewers than ever have tuned into streaming services to watch the awards.

The audience for linear television during the Oscars has decreased by 32%, while viewership on streaming has grown by 162%, according to research from Nielsen last year.

In 2019, for the first time ever, the Academy allowed members to stream films under consideration for best picture, allowing members to watch the films on Apple TV on the Academy Screening Room app. 

Like the Academy of Motion Pictures, audiences have also had to adapt. As social distancing and lockdowns kept people inside and theaters closed, Roku found that movie viewership has skyrocketed. Buying and renting movies at home has never been more popular for transaction-based video on demand (TVOD).

TVOD by the Numbers

When we compared the numbers between March 2020 and February 2020, we saw:

+32% TVOD streaming hours, +41% TVOD Streaming Reach, +66% Monthly Rental Transactions

The increase in viewers looking to have more movie nights at home presents an opportunity for media companies – and the Oscars are front and center as we look at content discovery itself.

When “Parasite” won Best Picture, we saw searches on Roku jump by 195% the week after the Oscars.

Other nominees saw similar bumps.

When we compared the week before the Oscars (2/3 to 2/9) and the week after the Oscars (2/10-2/16), we saw searches increase across the board:

Marriage Story +29% Once Upon a Time in Hollywood +21% Parasite +195% The Irishman +6%, 1917 +10% Ford v Ferrari +12% Joker +7% Jojo Rabbit +8% Little Women +2%

The Home Theater Season

With limited film festivals and theater viewing opportunities, it’s important for movie studios to think outside the box to reach movie lovers where they’re watching. Now is the time to plan on the impact that awards season will have on audiences – as we can see, an Oscar-nominated film can serve as a content discovery tool to reach new viewers. Since the Oscars have been tentatively rescheduled for April, this is a great opportunity for media companies to try new things and reinvent the experience. 

In this case, it’s important to think about how to reach streamers where they’re watching, like on platforms like Roku. 

Targeted ads can really work - more than two in three Roku users become interested in seeing a movie after seeing an ad on the Roku platform.

Through advertising solutions like Roku OneView, you can target the right audiences, building campaigns that generate excitement and buzz around a picture before and after awards season. 

And with limited in-person movie viewing opportunities, streaming delivers reach that advertisers need during these critical theatrical windows. Roku has found that by building Branded Experiences through creative microsites that deliver curated content, advertisers can enhance these campaigns, offering studios a way to engage audiences beyond the traditional video ad. 

We already know that the movie season for this year and next will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. But that also means that there are going to be new ways that audiences research, view, and engage with upcoming titles. With the right platform, it’s possible to be there with audiences every step of the way.