It's a bit of an overstatement to say that Fox's "American Idol" and NBC's "The Voice" are locked in a head-to-head battle. While NBC clearly aimed to ding Fox's franchise by scheduling the second season of "The Voice" to run in the same part of the year as "Idol," the shows air on different days of the week and have differing rhythms (not to mention very different direct competition on other networks).
That said, it's impossible to resist comparing how the shows are performing against each other, so to speak. The Hollywood Reporter's Shirley Halperin did that recently and concluded that "Idol" has the clear ratings edge: "Even with a ratings slump, most networks would kill for the show's numbers," she wrote. (Her whole piece is worth reading because she really digs into the numbers -- examining, for instance, what happens when you factor out the freakishly huge post-Super Bowl ratings of the Season 2 premiere of "The Voice").
But which show has its viewers more engaged? For a social-TV perspective on the "Idol" vs. "Voice" matchup, Ad Age worked with our editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring firm. Scroll down below the infographic for some context.
- The Season 11 premiere of "Idol" had 39% more social activity, as measured by Trendrr, than the Season 2 premiere of "The Voice." Trendrr tracks conversations on Twitter and Facebook, as well as GetGlue and Miso check-ins.
- Looking at their entire seasons so far, though, "The Voice" has been averaging 21% more social activity per episode than "Idol."
- The current season of "Idol" is averaging about 10% more social activity per episode than it had in Season 10. That's a pretty mild bump up, actually, given how much the whole social-TV phenomenon has been growing year over year.
- Season 2 of "The Voice" is averaging 30% more social activity per episode than it had in its first season.
- The gender split of social chatterers for both shows is roughly the same: 65% female/35% male for "Idol," and 69% female/31% male for "The Voice."
- For an alternate take on "Idol" vs. "The Voice" social buzz, scroll down to the bottom of that THR piece; it addresses, for instance, the number of Twitter followers of the shows' judges, and even the Twitter numbers of alumni like Adam Lambert (of "Idol" Season 8), which you may or may not care about.
- To supplement Trendrr's data, here's an interesting stat (that I just made up): Both shows are 93% annoying. (I kid! Sort of .)
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.