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Viewership Deep Dive: ‘The Masked Dancer’ and Other Musical Competition Shows

In an entertainment world awash with musical reality competition shows, Fox has been bringing a new essence to the usual themes: masking. And although that sounds super relevant in this time of COVID-19, Fox’s first iteration, The Masked Singer, kicked off in 2019, long before the coronavirus or “social distancing” was on anyone’s mind. (The inspiration for TMS is even older; it’s based on a South Korean TV hit, King of Mask Singer, that premiered in 2015.) More recently, the network has taken it up a notch with the inaugural season of The Masked Dancer, which premiered at the end of last year and just wrapped up on Feb. 17, with Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Gabby Douglas taking home the diamond mask trophy. 

Below, we explore some of the viewership trends around The Masked Dancer, including a look at viewership crossover with other popular competition shows, using insights from Inscape, VIZIO’s data unit with glass-level insights from a panel of millions of active and opted-in smart TVs. 

First, a few high-level stats about The Masked Dancer: Of all the live, linear minutes watched during the day of The Masked Dancer’s premiere (Dec. 27), 0.66% of the time was spent watching the show, making it No. 17 for percent share duration (i.e., watch-time). During the day of the finale (Feb. 17), Masked Dancer accounted for 0.72% of all minutes watched, making it No. 15 — but looking specifically at primetime, the finale took third place for watch-time with 2.63% of all minutes watched during primetime. 

Viewership rose steadily over the course of the two-hour finale, peaking at the very end when Douglas emerged victorious. 

As long as these musical reality series continue to draw big audiences, we can assume that the networks will keep investing. But it’s worth asking: Are viewers of one such show more likely to watch others? Inscape examined recent viewership crossover among The Masked Dancer, The Masked Singer, The Voice, American Idol and Dancing With the Stars

  • At the high end of crossover: 52% of American Idol viewers have watched at least ten minutes of The Voice.
  • At the low end: Only 8.1% of The Masked Singer viewers tuned into ten minutes or more of American Idol.
  • The Masked Singer audiences are slightly more likely to watch The Voice vs. The Masked Dancer (37% vs. 36%).
  • Of the audience for The Masked Dancer, 43% also tuned into at least ten minutes of The Masked Singer

Inscape also took a look at where viewers were tuning in from. For American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, Jackson, TN was one of the most popular local area markets. Meanwhile, for both The Masked Dancer and The Masked Singer, New Orleans was a top market. Top local area markets for The Voice include Marquette, MI and Lake Charles, LA.

Data from Inscape also reveals what other shows are most likely to be watched by Masked Dancer viewers. Leading the list, unsurprisingly, is The Masked Singer, followed by The Real, 9-1-1: Lone Star, To Tell the Truth and The Wall

On the advertising side of things, according to iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, the first season of The Masked Dancer generated 930.2 million TV ad impressions, with 152 brands airing 268 spots 520 times. Excluding network promos, the most-seen brands included: 

  • Geico (40.7 million TV ad impressions)
  • Kleenex (19.7 million) 
  • Hyundai (19.1 million)
  • Little Caesars Pizza (17.6 million)
  • Downy (17.6 million) 

Geico, Hyundai and Downy all also advertised during the most recent season of The Masked Singer

The most-seen individual spot during this season of The Masked Dancer (17.6 million impressions) was Lay’s “Joy Says What,” featuring Tracee Ellis Ross and Liz Jenkins from ABC’s black-ish