/// Idol Return Delivers Lackluster Ratings

January 17, 2013  |  Media Week

Season 12 of American Idol got off to a somewhat iffy start as the two-hour premiere failed to live up to last year’s debut. According to Nielsen fast-national data, the season opener averaged 17.9 million total viewers, down 4 million or 18 percent versus the 2012 premiere . The new-look Idol—Mariah Carey, Nikki Minaj and Keith Urban have stepped in for the departed Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler—absorbed an even bigger body blow in the target demo, averaging a 6.0 rating among adults 18-49, down 19 percent from the year-ago 7.4. Idol peaked in the 8:30 p.m. half-hour, averaging a 6.8 in the demo. Fox needs Idol to do a lot of heavy lifting this season if it's to have a shot at returning to prominence in the demo. After sixteen weeks of the 2012-2013 broadcast television season (through Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013), Fox is in third place with a 2.4, down 20 percent from last season. The network is also in fourth place among total viewers. Along with its recent ratings difficulties, Idol has grayed considerably since it premiered in 2002. In its inaugural run, the series boasted a median age of 31.9 years; last season’s 50.7 marked a 59 percent increase from Season 1. Media buyers estimate that the average cost of a 30-second spot on Idol’s Wednesday broadcasts is around $350,000, down 30 percent from a unit cost of $500,000 in the most recent cycle. Thursday’s results show is a bit cheaper ($300,000). Sunday Night Football boasts the steepest sticker price in prime time; a :30 ran around $535,000 during the 2012 NFL campaign. Last year’s Wednesday night show averaged 18.1 million viewers and a 5.4 in the demo

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Idol Return Delivers Lackluster Ratings


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