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Advertisers won't desert The X Factor, despite ratings slump, says media buyer


By Stephen Lepitak, -

October 17, 2011 | 2 min read

Despite having reportedly lost over 2 million viewers in the last year, The X Factor will continue to be an attractive prospect for advertisers on ITV, one media expert has claimed.

According to Ben Chesters, head of investment for Starcom MediaVest, The X Factor will still be able to attract advertisers at peak prices as it continues to be the most watched TV programme at the moment.

“The reality of The X Factor is that it is ITV’s Holy Grail of entertainment and it is the programme that across the pre-Christmas phase, that they can get without any challenge, because they have the biggest programme on television in terms of reaching viewers. That’s not about to change,” stated Chesters. “To lose 2 million viewers means they simply won’t have the inventory available to deliver all the impacts required.”

He continued: “Will brands continue to want to be associated with it? Absolutely, because it’s still the biggest programme on TV, however, it may lose some of the kudos for having some bad press, whereas historically all the press on X Factor been about whether these people were actually talented or were they trying to groom someone to make a programme. Now the press is about whether people are getting fed up with reality talent shows, of which this is the biggest one. “

Chesters also revealed that the price of advertising during the X Factor had fallen for the latest series, by around £20,000; “So the entry point is cheaper now and it’s not costing advertisers as much to get into the biggest prime time programme and the final will almost certainly still deliver 13 or 14m this year.”

He also said that he felt that Simon Cowell would like consider returning from the American version of the series and ‘doubling up’ in order to reverse the ratings slump, if necessary.

Meanwhile, with the rating success of drama series Downton Abbey on ITV, Chesters also said that the commercial channel had realised the potential for such drama series, and that both light entertainment and drama would continued to be at the heart of its schedule next year.

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