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Simon Cowell American Idol Pepsi

Simon's American X Factor disappoints by 7.8 million

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 20, 2011 | 3 min read

Simon Cowell's much-hyped American "X Factor," is drawing much smaller audiences than expected .

Simon with fellow X factor judge Paula Abdul

Since launching in the middle of last month, it has drawn an average of 12.2 million viewers - well below the 20 million that Cowell said over the summer was necessary for the show "not to be a disappointment."

Advertisers are being compensated, said the Wall Street Journal, with extra commercial time on the show, quoting "people familiar with the situation".

The figure is especially disappointing compared with the average of 25.2 million people who watched "American Idol", Simon's original US show, also from Fox in its most recent season, its 10th.

"X Factor is not a bad show, it's just not performing in line with such high expectations," Brad Adgate, a Horizon Media analyst, told the WSJ.

Fox spent $20 million to launch and market the new show. The network topped a $250 million offer from NBC for Cowell to produce and star in it. Still, said the Journal, the show has helped Fox "turn around its flagging autumn line-up."

Fox's Thursday viewership is up by 59% and enabled the network to win the night among viewers 18 years old to 49 years old for the first time ever.

The overall number of viewers tuning into Fox during the first month of the television season is 18% higher than it was in the first month of 2010, according to Nielsen.

The show's biggest biggest sponsor is PepsiCo. A spokeswoman for PepsiCo said "we're pleased with the total value we're extracting from our partnership."

The next season of Fox's "American Idol" starts in January . Fox deliberately aired "X Factor" and "Idol" during different parts of the TV year to avoid a clash.

Simon Cowell American Idol Pepsi

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