Fox Branches Out with 'X Factor'

Fox and X Factor
show producer Freemantle Media are setting out in a different direction regarding
its marketing, reported

X Factor, instead
of relying on a few advertisers for the whole season, has only been sponsored
by Pepsi for a season, with other marketers allowed to enter their names and
products into the show and into its online presence for a limited run. The
approach has had success thus far, with another sponsor signed on. Keith
Hindle, chief executive, Freemantle Media Enterprises, declined to comment on
the advertiser.

With spots during Idol
running up to $467,617, Fox is looking to capitalize on the two singing
competitions' appeal by broadening its advertisement offering to "dual screen"
viewings, music downloads, or audition attendance.

"By approaching the major advertisers with lots of
'off-air' ideas at the same time we approach them about media packages, it
becomes a much richer property to them," Hindle said.

Idol's major
success was a surprise, as many networks had passed on it; the show secured Coca-Cola,
Ford Motor Co. and AT&T for lengthy sponsorships that have become a staple
of the show. However, with Fox only airing two hours of primetime a night, it
limits the network from airing competing advertisers.

The new format offers a wider range of advertisers, but
also introduces more complexity. "It's ambitious, more of a challenge, but
we'll find out what works effectively and I'm sure we'll extend the things that
work and cut back the things that don't fit," said Hindle.

Fox and Freemantle met with its advertisers before the upfront
season was in full swing in order to avoid complications. Pepsi announced its
sponsorship with X Factor in January while
two other advertisers have negotiated with the network.

The network is pinning its hopes on X Factor after retooling Idol
following Cowell's departure. With NBC's new singing competition The Voice turning out to be a hit, the
network is relying the return of Cowell and Paula Abdul to entice viewers.

Fox began promoting the show in November 2010, ten months
before its launch. X Factor has been
continuously advertised ever since - the network ran a Super Bowl ad,
advertised in malls and karaoke bars, and sent Simon Cowell and other executives
to press outlets, Skype chats and Facebook chats beginning in February.