May 23rd, 2008

AT&T and American Idol Set SMS Voting Record

The season is over, and this is my first blog on Wireless and American Idol. It shouldn’t be though as there was a lot of good stuff in this season’s show.

Here’s the press release.

Highlight: 78 million text votes compared with 64.5 million last year.

An excerpt from a survey they did:

This season, AT&T conducted an informal poll on its Web site to get a sense from customers about the role text messaging has played. Poll results are based on the 416 responses submitted March 7 to May 5, 2008.

Fifty-one percent said they tend to text more frequently during the “American Idol” season than other times of the year.

Forty-three percent said they discuss “American Idol” with others via text messaging while watching the show.

Twenty-two percent said they first learned to text message by voting for their favorite Idol contestant.

By texting their votes this season, AT&T’s wireless customers helped crown a new “American Idol” champion, David Cook, and made it possible for AT&T to capture a new text messaging milestone for television’s No. 1 show.

A new element for this year’s show (and, yes, I do watch it) was AT&T relationship with Apple and the iPhone. iTunes has been in place before – promoted on the iTunes site, limited time offers on American Idol recordings, etc. The contestants all seemed to have iPhones this year – lots of screen shots of the contestants listening to music on their phones. Really well done.

Finale was filmed at the Nokia theater. As I watched the finale, I was being to think that the judges and Ryan Seacrest were getting paid for each mention of Nokia … or they had some quota to fill.

In any case, there are few examples out there of three screen marketing – TV, cellphones and the PC – this one was well done in that it drove consumers to all three medium with purpose.

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