Here’s a long, interesting article from Billboard.com that’s definitely worth the read. It covers the upcoming season, runs the Idol mega-numbers and throws in a little Idol history for good measure. Here are a few excerpts–
Last year’s numbers:
Last season was the show’s biggest and best yet. According to Nielsen Media Research, the show averaged more than 30 million viewers’ ratings that trail only the likes of special one-off events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. What is more, Ad Age says the show generated more than $500 million in TV sponsorship revenue in 2006. It now sets the value of the “Idol” franchise at $2.5 billion.
About the National Songwriting Contest:
Details of the songwriting contest are still being sketched out, but it will be open to amateurs, with demos submitted through an “Idol” Web site. The show’s producers and judges will whittle entries down to a dozen finalists, which will be performed in the show’s stretch run and put up to a vote by the audience.
The winner’s song used to be chosen by Sony BMG executives and the show’s producers early in the season. But picks of groaners like “Do You Make Me Proud”‘ the song season five winner Hicks had to perform as his first single’ prompted Fuller to rethink the approach.
“I want the moment of an unknown songwriter’s song being performed by the hottest newly discovered singer in the country, ” he says of his new vision.
The show is expected to start soliciting for entries shortly after the end of the auditions. In an ideal world, previous “Idol” contestants will return to the show late in the season to give the songs a test run. But nothing has been decided. Details on the prize package are still to be determined as well. Ditto voting, which is expected to happen online.
I suppose it’s an interesting “twist”, but I don’t understand the thought process here. How will choosing the songs from a bunch of amateur submissions have an impact on the quality of the songs? TPTB have hit-making songwriters at their fingertips, surely they could easily choose songs that don’t SUCK without going to the trouble of holding a National Songwriting Contest. I expect the coronation songs to suck as usual, only with an extry-speshul amateur twist.
This doesn’t surprise me at all:
Also, show executives tell Billboard, look for rock singers. Given the success of performers like Daughtry last season, and Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis in season four, rock performers are turning out in greater numbers to try out.
Meanwhile, Hicks’ win last year has attracted more of what executive producer Ken Warwick terms as “quirky” singers, and producers are also promising some great characters, too. Think Elliott Yamin, the good-natured soul singer who judge Paula Abdul described as one “funky white boy.”
And more about this year’s talent:
And it wouldn’t be “American Idol” without some powerhouse voices.
“We have a kid who is going to give Aretha Franklin a run for her money, ” Warwick says.
A few hints about the mid-season “surprise”:
And look for what Warwick describes as an “absolute mega-night” when the show trims the number of finalists to six contestants. “We’re a bit concerned at the moment that it will overshadow the final, ” he says.
Let the speculation begin…
Idol Success Stories:
Underwood’s RCA Nashville debut “Some Hearts” has sold more than 4 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Daughtry’s self-titled debut for RCA has sold 1.2 million. Fantasia’s 2004 debut scanned more than 1.7 million. Ruben Studdard’s 2003 debut on J Records has sold 1.8 million units. Clay Aiken has had two albums scan more than a million units: His 2003 RCA debut “Measure of a Man” sold more than 2.8 million units, while his follow-up 2004 holiday album, “Merry Christmas With Love, ” sold 1.4 million units. Most recently, Daughtry’s self-titled RCA debut has sold more than 1.2 million units.
“Idol” and its artists have also become a big draw on the touring front, as well. The American Idols tour gross doubled from $8 million to $16 million from the first year to the second and grossed a best-yet $35 million last year. All told, five Idols tours have grossed nearly $90 million and moved more than 2 million tickets.
Money, Money, Money:
The biggest beneficiary of all this is 19 Entertainment, which was acquired by Robert F. X. Sillerman’s CKX Inc. for $188 million in 2005. The company’s “Idol”-related revenue, which includes TV-production fees, foreign syndication rights, sponsorships, merchandise and touring, totaled $66 million in the first nine months of 2006. The company generated another $28 million in revenue from recorded music revenue and music management fees with a roster dominated by Idols. 19 claims it has generated more than $50 million in profits during that period.
And sponsors, with anticipation for the new season of “Idol” already at a fever pitch. A 30-second spot on this year’s Wednesday shows is reportedly fetching north of $600, 000. (“Idol” airs twice weekly on Fox, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.) Similar ad slots on this season’s finale are said to be more than $700, 000. Lead sponsors Coke, Cingular and Ford are all back this season, and some individual sponsors like Coke are reportedly shelling out as much as $50 million for product placement and other opportunities.
Yowza. In this MTV.com article (Ugh, be careful, MTV.com always crashes my browser) folks weigh in on American Idol’s shelf life. Has it jumped the shark? Will it soon? Personally, I think the show is on it’s way to becoming another Saturday Night Live. Even if the show’s “glory days” are history, it will become an institution–a part of the pop culture landscape that folks take for granted.
I think Idol will have another banner year, riding on the success of this past year and I expect the talent of Season 6 contestants and guest stars to rival or exceed last year’s bunch.