Idol will air online; is worth $2.5+ billion but adds an official candy, ice cream to make more money

American Idol is “[c]onservatively valued at $2.5 billion as a franchise” and “already brings in $500 million a year in TV ad dollars, including a number of $30 million to $50 million core sponsorship packages,” Advertising Age reports. But its production company is not content with the show’s cash flow and attention for half the year, so it has signed up even more sponsors.

Some of those will be featured online, as the show “is making room for new ad opportunities by streaming the entire program at AmericanIdol.com after it airs,” according to AdAge. McDonald’s and MasterCard will be among the sponsors for the online episodes.

Fremantle Licensing North America is also “trying to extend the life of the brand so it becomes a year-round property,” VP Keith Hindle told The Hollywood Reporter.

As part of that, “Nestle will become the official candy of ‘American Idol’ with more than 70 million candy bars featuring ‘Idol’,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, and “Dreyer’s will become ‘Idol’s’ official ice cream sponsor, with several new flavors created especially for the promotion, including Drumstick Diva, Rock ‘n’ Rolo and Hollywood Cheesecake.” At least Dreyer’s has a sense of humor about pimping the show on their products; “Hollywood Cheesecake” is a great way to describe the show.

Both companies–and four others, who have yet to be named–are paying for the privilege, and as The Hollywood Reporter notes, it’s rather “unusual to see advertisers spend marketing dollars on TV tie-ins when they are not featured in the show. In addition, brands usually don’t have to pay additional fees for movie promotions since the studios are only too happy to benefit from their millions of dollars spent on co-branded TV spots, as well as print, radio, online, outdoor and in-store advertising.”

But this is American Idol, and its producers are greedy, which Hindle readily admits. He said, “The issue for us isn’t getting more eyeballs. Earlier in the show’s life cycle, it was about that. But now it’s much more about fully monetizing the brand.”

‘Idol’ Juggernaut Passes $2.5 Billion in Value; Keeps Expanding [Advertising Age]
Six off-net partners bask in ‘Idol’ glow [The Hollywood Reporter]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.