The X Factor final is the biggest weekend of the year for TV advertising – but with audiences down since last year, advertisers are challenging ITV’s right to demand exorbitant rates for next month’s final.
ITV1’s show, now into its eighth series, remains the most popular show on British television. But the channel faces a battle to achieve 2010’s asking price of £250,000 for a 30-second slot in the final. Advertisers are attempting to negotiate discounts of about 15 per cent, a price closer to £200,000.
For the first time since it launched in 2004, the X Factor audience is lower than the previous year, with audiences for the 2011 series down by well over a million.
Negotiations are continuing in the run-up to the final, as ITV hopes to hit its targets of bringing in more than £20 million by persuading advertisers that the full £250,000 remains a price worth paying for the most watched TV show of the year.
But if advertisers manage to get discounts for the final, to be held in Wembley Arena on December 10th and 11th, it could leave ITV down by as much as £3 million on last year, when it is estimated to have made £21 million from the final.