Oscars 2012: A hit in social media
Although the 84th Annual Academy Awards came across decidedly old school in its television broadcast, the event delivered high marks in new media.
Sunday's Oscar ceremony generated 3.8 million comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, according to data generated by Cambridge, Mass.-based Bluefin Labs. That made this year's awards show the second most talked-about entertainment event on TV since the company began measuring and analyzing social media traffic several years ago.
CBS' telecast of the Grammy Awards this month was the undisputed champ with 13 million social media comments. The third most popular awards event was last year's MTV Video Music Awards with 3.1 million comments, according to Bluefin Labs.
The ABC television network, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and advertisers stepped up their social media campaigns promoting the Oscars this year, in large part, to keep the TV ratings high. Their efforts appeared to have paid off with Nielsen's estimates that more than 39 million viewers tuned in -- an increase of 1.4 million people compared with last year's show.
Comments on social media sites surrounding Sunday's ceremony and red carpet arrivals surged nearly 300% over last year's gala. In 2011, there were fewer than 1 million comments. The trend suggests that more people are turning to social media outlets while watching TV by using a "second screen" -- a tablet, smartphone or laptop computer -- to stay connected to their friends and followers who are also watching TV.
Bluefin Labs' analysis found that the gender breakdown for the social media pundits was roughly in line with the composition of the TV audience. An estimated 57% of those who commented were women; men made up 43%.
It was more difficult to ascertain the mood of commenters. Bluefin found that 22% of the comments about the Oscars were positive, 16% negative and 62% neutral.
Peaks in the social media traffic came at somewhat predictable intervals. The most talked-about moment came at the end of the evening when the nearly silent film, "The Artist," won for best picture. The second most popular portion was the presentation of three awards by Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper -- two crowd-pleasing comedians particularly popular with the social media demographic.
The pair was on screen several minutes, presenting honors for film editing, won by "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and sound editing and sound mixing, both won by Martin Scorsese's 3-D family film "Hugo."
Octavia Spencer's emotional acceptance speech for supporting actress for her performance in "The Help" was the third most popular highlight in social media. Remarks about Spencer ranked highest in terms of "most positive."
And even though, at age 82, Christopher Plummer would seem to be well beyond the Facebook demographic, his win for supporting actor in "Beginners" registered as the fourth most buzzed-about Oscar moment.
-- Meg James
Photo: Octavia Spencer, escorted by Christian Bale, after Spencer's win for supporting actress for her performance in "The Help." Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times