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.
This phenomena is a evidence of the dynamic nature of entertainment and technology.
Decades ago, television viewers were simply audiences scattered around the globe. All they do was to enjoy the show and get entertained. But the technology of SMS made the next generation of viewers active participants of the program, either they be sitting on their couches or are actually watching it live. Simply put, the viewers, or fans, play a more active role with reality shows since they have the say on who should win. It is what people call, showbiz democracy.
Fans vote, contestants win, the producers earn big time. The bottomline, showbizness is more lucrative than ever. Thanks to those who don't mind spending hefty sums on mobile credits just to have their idols win the title. On the other side of the coin, these fans are truly fans. They make (or even break) the stars that we see on TV.
Kris Allen wins the competition for the show's eighth season. Sure, just as the article said, this is also a win of sms marketing.