ABC, Academy Get Serious About

ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences are going to stream live the 8:30 a.m. EST Oscar nominations next Tuesday. That would seem to be a no-brainer, but, the web joint venture operated by ABC, has long been a bastion of old-media group think.

In years past, for example, the Academy has offered Oscar fans a mere five-minute clip of the nearly four-hour Academy Awards telecast, out of paralyzing fear of cannibalising television ratings the following year’s (!) ceremony. That call, of course, helped create huge demand for YouTube clips of the ceremony, which the Academy ordered Google to take down. Last year Academy director Ric Robertson told Variety that was to “to help manage the value of our telecast and our brand.”

This year, the Academy will be very lucky to have an Academy Awards telecast to protect. If Hollywood’s writers are still on strike at the end of February, when the telecast is scheduled, there will be no ceremony and ABC and the Academy are facing a Golden Globes situation — i.e., at best they’ll have an unwatched press conference. It’s as good a year as any for ABC and the Academy to re-think the way they use the web.

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