X-Factor sees ad revenues fall, but still important for promoting pop

By | Published on Wednesday 7 November 2012

The X-Factor

Sliding ratings for ‘The X-Factor’ could cost ITV up to £10 million in lost advertising revenue, according to The Guardian.

The pop talent show peaked in terms of viewing figures two years back, and last weekend the Saturday night edition was two million viewers down on the equivalent edition a year earlier. The slip in viewing figures means that the advertising rates ITV can demand for spots during the show are down by about 10%, according to reports. And unless ratings improve as the contest moves closer to its final, that could equate to a £10 million decline in overall ad revenues for the series.

Which will presumably result in ITV bosses putting more pressure on ‘X’ chief Simon Cowell to return as a full time judge on the British version of his show, his departure from the judging panel blamed by some for the recent ratings decline, in part at least.

All that said, for the pop music industry ‘X-Factor’ probably remains the most important show on British television, its audience being seen as much bigger music consumers compared to that of its main rival in the Saturday night TV schedules, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

This was something shown up by stats recently published by secondary ticketing firm Seatwave, which noted that the number of people searching for tickets online to artists’ shows increases after they appear on ‘X’, but appearances on ‘Strictly’ have little effect.

Online interest in X alumni JLS went up 600% after they appeared on the show recently, while Emeli Sandé saw a 336% surge in interest in her live shows after appearing on the same edition. Whereas appearances by pop acts on ‘Strictly’ seem to have had next to no impact, except for The Wanted, who saw online interest in their gigs go down 8% after singing a song for ‘Strictly’ viewers.

Seatwave’s Louise Mullock told CMU: “”X-Factor’ may be losing out to ‘Strictly’ in terms of viewing figures but when it comes to boosting tour sales, ‘X-Factor’ is the place the stars should be appearing. These statistics clearly show that if an artist performs on ‘X-Factor’, demand significantly increases, while ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ simply doesn’t move the needle. This could be explained by the respective audiences of the two shows, with viewers of ‘X-Factor’ more likely to buy tickets to gigs. Our advice to musicians is that if you want to help your ticket sales, go on ‘X-Factor'”.