Nearly 100 million votes were cast during this week’s American Idol finale, resulting in Kris Allen winning the competition for the show’s eighth season. Last night was also a win for SMS marketing, just as much as it was for Mr. Allen.
Why? Television experts have been saying that Idol ratings have been down this year, and that its popularity seems to have waned. Yet the 100 million votes–sent predominantly via text message–is a record high for the show. Even if there are fewer viewers, consumers are engaged with the brand more than ever.
This means continued success for the show, whose production company, FremantleMedia, is also a mobileStorm client. With texting, fans really become invested in the Idol outcome. Comment boards on news and entertainment sites right now are bursting with ways people say they are able to send as many messages as possible so that their faves will win.
Such proof that these consumers are so committed to the brand means that Fox will likely command a high price for its commercials, ratings be darned. Fremantle, too, will continue to get paid big bucks from Fox to keep American Idol on the network.
Consider also the claim that it’s much easier to text a vote into a short code than it is to call the show’s toll-free landline–and to ensure that that vote counts. As the business publication Broadcasting & Cable said in a report: “Text messaging is digital [unlike phone lines, which are analog] and simply doesn’t have the same traffic jams. A text message is also time-coded, meaning that all of the votes messaged during the two-hour period can be lined up like jets on a runway and eventually recorded.”
So after the upset of Idol frontrunner Adam Lambert, fans of future frontrunners will be spurred to send ever-more SMS votes.