The first season of the US version of X Factor was hyped to the moon. They pulled out all the stops, but the buzz just didn’t really deliver the expected viewership of around 20 million. However, the hype campaign had one positive effect, and that was in advertising revenue.
According to Forbes, the Simon Cowell hype machine managed to get X Factor a #2 ranking in average advertising revenue for all US TV shows (sports excluded) for 2011. It was only beaten by American Idol. X Factor averaged ad revenue of $5.55 million for each 30-minute block. That’s $11 million per hour and a huge chunk of cash for Simon and company.
But advertisers were reportedly disappointed, as the approximate viewership of 12 million is only about 60 percent of the hype-driven prediction of 20 million. Advertising revenue for X Factor will take a nosedive for Season 2, which is already planned. FOX did renew the show, but advertisers will not be paying the same rate. Undaunted, the plan is to once again offer a $5 million contract to the winner of X Factor.
This seems so unnecessary. It would be way better to offer at least $500,000 each to the Top 10 or $1 million to the Top 5. No one actually needs $5 million, and the hype of such a winner’s prize obviously did not result in high ratings. Simon, you’re worth like $1 million. Offer more money to more people. Your life is already set, and you can even make the contestants work for that by putting it in the form of a recording contract.