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I’m not one for urging anyone to “go listen to this” but I can’t let this one past as it was very good. Paul Jackson’s programme, “Britain In A Box” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01k9lc2) charts the stories of the well know TV programmes and how they formed the industry. The first one details the success of Pop Idol.  Now it’s easy for musicians and the nay sayers to sit and mock the Fuller/Cowell creation but within the first three minutes of Jackson’s programme you do notice the two major questions are asked: 

How do we make sales?

How do we make it scale?

Scale 
The idea was to think big and then some! Lesson for me there, I’m not thinking big enough.  How do you make it scale out to multiple countries? 

Partnering
Pop Idol knew it needed the backing of the public and this was reflected in their marketing, “You decide the winner” put the power and control firm with it’s audience. And they were happy to pay for that power. The idea of partnering with The Sun newspaper meant mass marketing and consumer eye balls. Know they market, they knew it well. 

Ultimately more people voted in Pop Idol finals than they did electing Tony Blair in during the 1997 election. 

Ironing out the process
ITV were basically straight on the phone to BT asking about Saturday night prime time capacity. Find out as much as you can and work through the problems with collaboration. 

Get the audience/customer involved
Until the arrival of Gareth Gates and his audition the “story” wasn’t the highlight. After that it became the central focus to the contestant, was there any angle that could get the public on side. Get the public on side and then the public vote, votes = revenue. 

Working out the Win Win 
It was made sure everybody won in the deal. Simon Cowell finds a new act to sign, ITV get their advertising revenue and the sponsors get their exposure too. Sales should go up and everyone seriously wins.

When Pop Idol went the Fox network in the US the cost for the 30 second ad space was $700,000. There are 22 advertising minutes per show and 50 shows in the series. So there’s over $1.5bn in ad revenue for one series. 

Not bad for an idea that was written on a scrap of paper.

You can listen to the programme online for the next seven days.
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