Academy Of Motion Pictures Announces $500M Fundraising Campaign

Looking to safeguard its future in a world in which the Oscars have lost some of their ratings luster, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Friday a new $500-million global campaign aimed at extending the organization’s influence worldwide and diversifying its revenue streams.

The announcement of the Academy100 campaign, made during a press conference at Rome’s legendary Cinecittà Studios, represents a strategic push to bolster the academy’s financial stability and enhance its global stature as it approaches the milestone of its 100th Oscars ceremony in 2028. Historically, the nonprofit organization’s financial health has been closely linked to its flagship awards show, which draws a smaller audience in today’s fragmented entertainment landscape than in decades past.

According to the academy, support for the Academy100 campaign will fund and endow a variety of programs aimed at recognizing excellence in cinematic artistry, preserving film history, training and educating young filmmakers and facilitating the creation of film exhibitions, screenings and publications. More than $100 million has already been pledged to the campaign, with significant contributions from Rolex, a long-time academy partner.

“The future of the Academy is global, and Academy100 will deepen our worldwide reach and impact,” academy Chief Executive Bill Kramer said in a statement. “Like all healthy organizations, the academy needs a sustainable and diverse base of support, and we are deeply grateful to Rolex and all of our partners for helping us launch this important and forward-looking initiative.”

As the academy looks ahead to the end of its current television contract with ABC in 2028, the need to explore alternative revenue streams has become more urgent. With a boost from last summer’s “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, this year’s Oscars ceremony drew 19.5 million viewers, a 4% increase from 2023 but still less than half the 40 million who tuned in a decade ago. With the new Academy100 campaign, AMPAS is proactively looking to create new sources of revenue that could be less dependent on the broadcast model and more resilient to continued shifts in how audiences consume entertainment.

The global push comes as the organization itself widens its focus far beyond Hollywood. Since the #OscarsSoWhite firestorm in 2015, the academy has diversified its historically white-male-dominated ranks in large part by expanding its reach abroad, growing its ranks from fewer than 6,000 voting members in 2012 to more than 10,500 today. Over half of the most recent class of invitees were drawn from outside the United States.

With an eye toward that global membership, the academy plans to roll out a series of events and educational programs aimed at fostering community engagement and nurturing new talent in major cities outside America, including Buenos Aires, Cannes, Johannesburg, Kyoto and London. Such programs could boost international interest in the Oscars and other academy initiatives and help offset any potential declines in domestic viewership.

The Academy100 campaign follows an earlier, similarly ambitious fundraising effort to fund construction of the $482-million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened in September 2021 after years of delays and budget overruns. Beginning in 2027, the museum will roll out a series of special exhibitions, film programs and publications related to Oscars history ahead of the awards’ 100th anniversary.

Highlighting this pivotal moment in the organization’s long and storied history, Kramer said, “The academy will soon enter its second century, and we want to ensure that we continue to be the preeminent leader of our international film community.”

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