With broadcast ratings on the decline, networks are having to evaluate how to integrate social media and technology to keep audiences locked into legacy programming. Even flagship shows like “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance?” are seeing declines in viewership. Though this decline is from 12 million viewers to 9 million, a 30% decrease, it’s still a hair-raising concern for network executives.
Today, in a promotional call for the forthcoming season of “So You Think You Can Dance?” Nigel Lythgoe talked about integrating the audience votes into a new dance crew segment which will even be hosted by Justin Bieber. Heck if the Biebs can’t drive the ratings back up, what will?
Lythgo also addressed some of the concerns around ratings stating that “[So You Think You Can Dance? executives and Lythgoe] know what we are and have always said we are the little program that could. I want viewing figures so i can sell to my advertisers. We have an un-diluted audience. They know who is watching the show and broadcast to that audience. I believe that is our strength.”
But Lythgoe sees this audience as one that translates online and around the world. Afterall, he joined the board of the largest and most successful dance community on YouTube — DanceOn.
So, we asked him what he thought about online communities for dance and if we’d see any promotion of “So You Think You Can Dance?” across the DanceOn Network.
“What I love about DanceOn and that platform is that it literally does pull together the dance community around the world which is exactly what you want it to do,” Lythgoe told VideoInk noting that people who are passionate about dance and choreography “will go to the DanceOn platform.”
In talking to Lythgoe it’s apparent that he loves the art of dance — the creativity, the performance and the physicality of it. So much so that his first programming intiative with DanceOn is a new choreography competition show called “Every Single Step”, which was announced at the 2014 Newfronts.
Lythgoe notes that rather than promote SYTYCD on DanceOn’s Network, he sees the content moving the other direction. “I’m making a choreography competition show with DanceOn and the winner of that I would like to see come and choreograph on “So You Think You Can Dance?””
And his own digital investment, DanceOn, has captured a worldwide audience — 9 million subscribers accumulated across its 400 channel partners, and over 1B video views — and “all it does is show [Lythgoe] how choreography is expanding.”
So, while broadcast ratings may be hurting, Lythgoe seems hopeful about the dance category and the opportunities that digital and technology platforms present for choreography. “I love creativity. For instance, here’s an app to make music, make music and then choreograph it. And I want to push the choreographers a little bit.”