Which of this year’s TV dance shows saw top scores for social engagement?

2019’s TV schedule started off with a strong focus on dance-based shows. BBC and Channel 4 took to the floor to compete with ITV’s Dancing on Ice with two new dancing shows of their own, The Greatest Dancer (BBC) and Flirty Dancing (Channel 4).

But which of these shows did the public find the most engaging, as assessed by the Twitter chat? We have delved into the social buzz across each show’s run using our Kantar Social TV Ratings (in each case covering a period from two days prior to the first episode airing to the day after the final episode).

Falling on ice provides spike in activity

The first episode of this season’s Dancing on Ice aired on 6th January, and it ran to the 10th March. Between 4th Jan – 11th March we saw a total of 436,000 show-related tweets, creating almost 280 million impressions – the greatest of all three of the dance shows.

You might expect the biggest peak in tweets to be as the series started or ended, but in fact it was a moment of drama somewhere in between that really got viewers talking, the night in late January when Gemma Collins fell over during her routine. In fact, Gemma was very much the social star of the series, mentioned by name in 53,000 tweets across the series, the third most used series-related word on Twitter behind ‘dancingonice’ and ‘dancing’.

In terms of the Twitter engagement in proportion to the size of the series TV audience, the episode on the 27th January when Gemma Collins fell saw 3.3 people tweeting per 1000 viewers. To put that in perspective, second highest was 1.9 tweeters per 1000 viewers and the final saw 1.3. The average across the series was 0.8, which is slightly higher than for both The Greatest Dancer and Flirty Dancing.

Tweeters who are fans of Dancing on Ice tend to be hardcore fans of ITV shows. Those who have tweeted about this season’s show are 20 times more likely to have tweeted about 2018’s Dancing on Ice than any other show. They are also almost 13 times more likely to have tweeted about Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and 12 times more likely to have done so about Britain’s Got Talent.

The Greatest Dancer or #TheGreatestDancer?

BBC’s new show, allowing dancers of any age to compete to win £50,000 and a chance to perform on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, landed on our screens in early January. 8 episodes have aired since then, with the series drawing to a close in late February. Over the course of the whole series it received 112,000 tweets. Although the first episode was by far the most interacted with, there is another strong spike of social activity the day prior to the final on Friday 22nd February – although all was not quite as it seemed. Singer Jason Derulo announced a new song on this day and used the same hashtag as the official one from the TV show - #TheGreatestDancer.

Looking at the engagement levels, the opening episode saw 0.9 people tweeting for every 1000 viewers during the broadcast, more than double the amount for any other episode. Across the series as a whole there were an average of 0.4 people tweeting per 1,000 viewers, which is fewer than for both Dancing on Ice and Flirty Dancing. So although the series saw more noise overall than Flirty Dancing, the proportion of tweets to viewers was lower.

According to our Affinity Index data, those who have posted about The Greatest Dancer, are more likely to have also posted about Dancing on Ice than any other show, demonstrating a great deal of viewer crossover between the two shows. And of those who have tweeted about The Greatest Dancer in the last 30 days, 10,700 have also posted about This Morning in the past.

Flirty Dancing offers good engagement

The only show of the three to not be broadcast at the weekend, Flirty Dancing represented a new concept in which Ashley Banjo taught one half of a dance to two people separately who then came together for the first time to perform the routines as one. A different take on dating shows, participants can fall in ‘love at first dance’. Engagement with this programme on Twitter was rather lower than for the other dance shows. The first episode provided the biggest spike in activity with 3,500 tweets posted that day. Across the five episodes of the show’s run, the series sparked a total of 12,800 tweets across the 5-week period.

However, despite the relatively low number of tweets across the series, those who were watching were pretty engaged. The first episode generated 1.2 people tweeting per 1000 viewers and, whilst it did drop through the series, the 5 episodes averaged a figure of 0.6 – which is more than The Greatest Dancer and slightly less than Dancing on Ice.

Fans of this show were clearly dancing fanatics. Looking at our Affinity Index data, users who have posted about Flirty Dancing, are more likely to have also posted about The Greatest Dancer than any other show. Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Documentaries on Channel 4 also show strong affinity.

It may be of no surprise that Dancing on Ice came out on top for volume of tweets during the series, but it is instructive to note that alternative dancing/dating shows such as Flirty Dancing can also offer compelling engagement to viewers. Of course, the format for each show was very different and this was reflected in how people engaged through social media. For example, the live nature of Dancing on Ice meant that any dramatic moment, such as Gemma Collins’ unfortunate fall, was particularly likely to trigger an instant spike in online reaction.

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