Putting more music on TV than anyone else—and proving there’s a growing audience for it
In 2013, shows produced by Dick Clark Productions had more than 50 musical performances on prime-time TV. This year, that number is expected to jump beyond 80—a level no other production entity touches.
“There is not another company like ours,” says Allen Shapiro, who took over DCP in October 2012. “Not only do we have these shows, we own these shows. We are not only responsible for production, but marketing and sponsorship arrangement, and we have far more of these shows than anyone else. I do think it affects our place in the [music] business and the ability to accomplish things.”
Shapiro, along with DCP president Michael Mahan, was first involved in DCP when Mosaic Media Group owned the company but departed after it was sold in 2007.
In 2014, DCP will be adding the Billboard Music Awards to its lineup in May (Guggenheim Partners owns both DCP and Billboard’s parent Prometheus Global Media), the Hollywood Film Awards in October and, later in the year, the People Magazine Awards, all of which will feature musical performances. In the summer, it will launch the U.S. edition of “Rising Star,” a singing competition imported from Israel that features real-time voting and had more than half the TV viewing audience watching live when it debuted.
Those shows join DCP properties the Golden Globe Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the American Music Awards and the series “So You Think You Can Dance,” which will have an expanded live music presence this year. Shapiro says it’s perfect for EDM artists.
“We’re able to talk to a sponsor and can create a platform that has a complete calendar-year basis, from New Year’s Eve to the ACMs to the Billboard Music Awards, this summer’s ‘Rising Star’ and the AMAs,” he says. “The shows are in spots that are strategically planned. For the movie companies, the AMAs come out right before Thanksgiving, and the BBMAs are right before Memorial Day for the summer releases.”
DCP president Mahan works in tandem with Shapiro. Formerly president of the TV Guide Network, he, too, is in his second run with the company, having previously been senior VP of corporate development.
Beyond having a bevy of shows, most had ratings growth in 2013. Last year’s AMAs were up 36% overall and 86% among teenagers from 2012. The ACMs were up 39%, and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” attracted its third-largest audience in its 14-year history.
“Everything is bigger—the audiences, the performances,” Mahan says. “Live television, especially variety television, is no different than movies and their massive productions. The public’s demanding more, so our productions are bigger. Part of that is the change in the music. Ten years ago, when it was all bands, there were no dancers, but with [Lady] Gaga and Taylor [Swift] and Justin Timberlake, that’s changed.”