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A Billion People Watched the Oscars???

Anne Hathaway said last night “Really? You’re going to do that to me in front of a billion people?”  The “one billion” statistic is one of those untruths that has become “true” simply because people keep repeating it.

But the worldwide audience for the Oscars isn’t even close to a billion, as a little common sense makes plain. In the United States, 43.5 million people watched the show last year. That’s a lot, but it’s 956.5 million short of a billion. Can the show really pick up that many viewers in countries that most of the films and people being honored are not from, and where the speeches are in a language that most of the population does not speak?

The reasoned guess was that someone must have extrapolated the 43.5 million domestic audience (15% of the US population) to 15% of the global population, which comes in at close enough to a billion.  It's difficult to see how anyone could have expected that 15% figure to be replicated outside of the US. Moreso, a third of the world's televisions sit in Chinese hands , and only 1% of those will be tuned in to the red carpet.

02/28/2011 9:37AM
A Billion People Watched the Oscars???
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