Lack of ‘Heartthrob’ Costing X Factor Millions

Ahh.. deadlock. How we have missed ye. As the nation waited for Dermot to put Amelia Lily and Craig Colton out of their misery last night, the tension became monumental. At least that’s what we’re told, because we used that dramatic pause between ‘..going home is’ and ‘Craig’ to do the washing-up, put on some laundry and re-watch the first series of Downton Abbey. There’s nothing like a bit of X Factor multi-tasking.

Yet the problem for ITV is that a smaller part of the ‘nation’ than ever before are watching X Factor these days and more importantly, fewer people are voting, meaning that the broadcaster is watching a couple of fruitful revenue streams dry-up somewhat.

Just 11.5 million viewers tuned in on Saturday evening – a million fewer than watched BBC One ballroom show, Strictly Come Dancing. To put that into perspective, this time last year, 13.3 million fans were tuning in to watch singers perform during the first live show of the weekend.

As such, advertisers are demanding that ITV reduce the cost of a slot in this year’s final from £250,000 to £200,000 for 30 seconds, in a move that could lose the broadcaster £3 million of the £21 million it pulled in off the back of last year’s final.

But that’s not the only way X Factor’s bosses are taking a hit in the pocket. In 2010, 15.5million votes were cast, raising £5.4million from landlines alone. Bosses had counted on this source of cash, especially after paying for several new high profile judges, keeping Simon Cowell on the payroll as executive producer and splashing out on Wembley Arena for the final.

One insider told The Sun that viewers weren’t picking up the phone to vote in the same volumes because there was no male ‘heartthrob’ this time around.

“The best contestants this year are girls, and girls don’t vote for girls. The line-up is really missing a heartthrob. Last year Matt made them a fortune in phone votes and One Direction had a huge following. That hasn’t happened this year.”

X Factor bosses had pushed Frankie Cocozza through early rounds and supported him – despite the fact that he couldn’t sing a note – in the hope that he may turn out to be the kind of boy that would get girls excited. Producers also had high hopes for The Risk, but they were voted out in a double-whammy a couple of weeks back..