American Idol and The Voice have long been the gold standards for music-focused reality competitions, but earlier this year a new entrant threw a weird monkey wrench into the arena: Fox’s The Masked Singer, hosted by Nick Cannon and featuring judges Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke — and a procession of celebrity competitors hidden behind hilariously elaborate costumes.
We wanted to see how the established shows and the upstart compare when it comes to the sponsors footing the bills, as well as viewership trends.
Below, a look at some advertising insights according to iSpot.tv, the TV ad measurement and attribution company. Note that it’s hard to draw a direct comparison between ad dollars spent and impressions generated because NBC's The Voice and ABC's American Idol only began their latest seasons recently while Masked Singer finished up its debut season at the end of February. But we’ve included a summary thus far.
The Masked Singer: 116 brands spent an estimated $39.4 million advertising during the first season, generating over 1.7 billion TV ad impressions.
The Voice: 168 brands have spent an estimated $46.4 million since the still-in-progress season began on Feb. 25, generating over 2.7 billion impressions.
American Idol: 152 brands have spent an estimated $34.9 million since the still-in-progress season began on March 3, generating over 1.8 billion impressions.
For American Idol and The Voice, automakers top the list of industries generating the most impressions, while for The Masked Singer, it’s movie studios (which also appear in the top five most impressions-generating industries for the former two shows and is the only industry on all three shows’ top five lists, not counting the networks’ own promo pods).
As for gender breakdown, while American Idol and The Voice have slightly larger female viewership (around 52% female for both), The Masked Singer audiences skewed a bit more male.
We also worked with Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 10 million smart TVs, to check out the audience crossover and other shows watched by viewers of the three shows. A note about methodology: You have to do more than just flip past a station with your remote to count as a “crossover viewer” in Inscape’s system. For the data below, the minimum viewing threshold is 10 minutes.
The biggest crossover was between American Idol and The Voice, with 43% of American Idol’s audience also checking out The Voice. Also notable is that nearly the same number of Voice fans have also tuned into both The Masked Singer and American Idol.
When it comes to other shows watched by these viewers, topping the list are Ellen’s Game of Games, World of Dance, Little Big Shots and America’s Got Talent. It would seem that if you’re a fan of one of these reality singing competitions, you’re likely to be watching the others — plus a lot of other reality competitions — as well.
We also examined trends around online video, using data from social video analytics company Tubular Labs. Note: the date range for the data below is for Jan. 1 through March. 19.
The Masked Singer has posted more videos across social platforms than the other shows — 688, compared to American Idol’s 438 and The Voice’s 435. But when it comes to video views, American Idol and The Voice dwarf The Masked Singer. Interestingly, although both American Idol and The Voice seem to prioritize putting videos on Facebook over YouTube, for The Voice it’s YouTube that’s generating more views. And The Masked Singer has put far more videos on Twitter than Facebook or YouTube, but it’s YouTube that’s grabbing the most eyeballs for the nascent series.
The Masked Singer
- 316 videos uploaded to Twitter resulting in 32.8 million views
- 205 videos uploaded to Facebook resulting in 12.4 million views
- 167 videos uploaded to YouTube resulting in 89.4 million views
Here is The Masked Singer’s most-watched video so far with 3.9 million views, 3.1 million of which occurred within the first few days according to Tubular’s analytics.
- 153 videos uploaded to Twitter resulting in 29.1 million views
- 194 videos uploaded to Facebook resulting in 338 million views
- 91 videos uploaded to YouTube resulting in 85.5 million views
Here is American Idol’s most-viewed video so far with 16 million views, 4.1 million of which occurred in the first seven days according to Tubular’s V7 rating.
- 154 videos uploaded to Twitter resulting in 14.5 million views
- 183 videos uploaded to Facebook resulting in 118 million views
- 98 videos uploaded to YouTube resulting in 163 million views
Here is The Voice’s most-watched video so far (6.4 million views) that was posted just a few days ago.