American Idol’s web site made $13 million

The money-printing machine known as American Idol is worth $2.5+ billion, and brings in about $500 million a year in advertising revenue. And the show’s web site earned $13 million by itself.

The show’s producer, FremantleMedia, will soon earn even more money when it starts to “produce programs to be shown exclusively on YouTube and to split revenues with the video-sharing site,” Reuters reports.

While that deal doesn’t seem to involve any American Idol-related content, the story does include an interesting fact: Fremantle executive Claire Tavernier “declined to estimate how much the deal might bring in over time but noted that the ‘American Idol’ website alone made $13 million last year,” according to Reuters.

That’s somewhat remarkable considering that there are few ads (two, plus sponsor badges) and not much premium content (just a store and downloadable ring tones, which take you to AT&T’s site). And it’s not like they publish content people actually want to see.