March 5, 2018 / 3:24 PM / a year ago

Ratings for Sunday's Oscars telecast plunge, early data shows

March 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. television audience for the 90th Academy Awards broadcast on Walt Disney Co’s ABC on Sunday tumbled nearly 16 percent from last year, preliminary Nielsen data showed on Monday.

The nearly four-hour live telecast of the film industry’s highest honors attracted 18.9 percent of viewers in 56 major markets according to Nielsen’s preliminary overnight metered market household ratings, an ABC spokesman said.

Hollywood trade publication Variety earlier on Monday reported the 18.9 Nielsen figure. That compared with 22.4 percent a year ago, when the Oscars audience fell to a nine-year low of 32.9 million viewers.

Television viewership has been declining as audiences migrate to streaming options. The Nielsen data does not include viewing of the Oscars on digital and mobile platforms. Updated numbers will be released later on Monday. (Reporting by Meredith Mazzilli and Lisa Richwine Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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