Americal Idol To Stream Full Show Online This Season; Fremantle Came Close To Ditching Fox For Site

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The American Idol juggernaut is about to start its seventh season on U.S. TV, and AdAge has some good details on the $2.5 billion behemoth franchise that it has become. The empire already brings in $500 million a year in TV ad dollars, including a number of $30 million to $50 million core sponsorship packages, music sales, live tours — read: more sponsorship revenue as well as ticket sales — and an explosion of products from 40 licensees.
This year, the production company Fremantle Media, which owns the right to AmericanIdol.com as well, is making room for new ad opportunities by streaming the entire program on the site after it airs. Already signed on to support the website are marketers including McDonald’s and MasterCard. This expands on the downloads program it launched last season.
On mobile side, fans will for the first time be able to download specific performances, thanks to Cingular, which will make clips from the show available on phones once viewers in Hawaii have finished watching the show.
Also interesting this: Fremantle owns the site, but it is built, hosted and sold by Fox through a revenue-sharing agreement…Fremantle was approached by a major web portal last year (I’m guessing MSN of Yahoo) about hosting the “Idol” website, and came close to yanking the property from Fox entirely, the story says quoting a source, noting that the company felt that Fox hadn’t sufficiently capitalized on a web presence until season five.

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