February 25, 2013 / 10:22 PM / in 5 years

Oscars ceremony draws 40.3 million TV viewers

LOS ANGELES, Feb 25 (Reuters) - More than 40 million Americans watched the Oscars ceremony on television on Sunday, giving the annual telecast on ABC its best audience in three years, ratings data showed on Monday.

Boosted by a bumper box office crop of movies, and intrigue over edgy comedian Seth MacFarlane’s debut as Oscar host, the Academy Awards show also showed an 11 percent increase in the 18-49 year-old audience most coveted by advertisers, according to Nielsen data

Last year, when Billy Crystal hosted for the ninth time, some 39.3 million people watched the Oscars ceremony on television.

“Argo,” the Iran hostage thriller and box office hit, was the big winner at Sunday’s ceremony, taking home Best Picture and two other Oscars.

“Life of Pi” - the popular shipwreck tale based on Yann Martel’s best-selling novel - won four Oscars including Best Director for Ang Lee, while musical “Les Miserables” won three Academy Awards.

ABC, a unit of Walt Disney, also reported growth to its online and social media platforms, saying that its Oscar.com website had attracted 15.8 million visitors since the Academy Award nominations were announced in early January - a 28 percent increase over 2012.

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