As many of a third of all Washington area adults may have plans this Sunday evening – tuning in to the 84th Academy Awards.

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More than 1.6 million adults in the region are likely to watch the annual awards show, according to past 12-month measurements by Scarborough Research, a provider of syndicated local market and media research. At 33 percent of the Washington market, viewership is 4 percentage points above the U.S. average.

Among the more than 75 local U.S. television markets measured by Scarborough, those with the highest proportions of adults who watch the Academy Awards are San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (42 percent), San Diego (40 percent), New York (40 percent), Chicago (39 percent), Los Angeles (37 percent), West Palm Beach (34 percent), and Washington (33 percent).

Washington area women are more likely to be Academy Award viewers than men (59 to 41 percent), and viewers are also more likely to be older relative to non-viewers.

Local Academy Awards viewers are highly educated

Viewers are more likely to hold a graduate degree (26 percent) than all local adults (19 percent).  In fact, Washington has a higher concentration of viewers with graduate degrees than any of the measured TV markets, considerably ahead of second-ranked Boston (20 percent), and Denver, Austin, and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (18 percent each).

More broadly, as a particularly “wired” area, Washingtonians are considerably more likely to buy movie tickets online (12 percent in the past 12 months) than U.S. adults (7 percent).  The only three areas with a higher concentration of people who buy movie tickets online are Austin, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco.

Past 30-day rental and purchasing habits measured by GfK MRI, another provider of syndicated media and consumer research of U.S. adults, shows that the most popular movie forms rented or purchased in the Washington market are comedy (26 percent), action/adventure (25 percent), and drama (22 percent).

David Barie is in The Post’s research and analytics department

Sources:  Scarborough Research 2011, Release 2; GfK MRI 2011 Doublebase.  All data based on the DMA, which is the television viewing market as defined by Nielsen.


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