American Idol Achieves the Silvermanian Ideal

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Photo: Courtesy of Fox

While Ben "Margins Not Ratings" Silverman's plan to raise profits while losing ratings at NBC has thus far been met with mixed success, the Times reports this morning that such a strategy may not be as hilariously unfeasible as it once seemed — American Idol's doing it! Despite a loss of about five million viewers since its 2006 peak, the show's revenues have ballooned to $96 million last year from $67 million two years ago, and profit margins have increased to 77 percent from 69 percent. And how did Idol mange to accomplish such a thing? Through the pursuit of Silvermanian tactics like product placement, brand-extending licensing deals, and merchandising. We would hate to have seen the look on poor Ben Silverman's face today as this article was read aloud to him by an assistant.

Despite Lower Ratings, Cash Flow Rises for ‘Idol’ [NYT]