Hundreds of Millions of Text Votes Later, AT&T to Exit Idol
In 2003, the inaugural season of its American Idol sponsorship, AT&T generated 7.5 million texts (a record at the time) with its 'text to vote' activation. Hundreds of millions of teen texts later, Fox confirmed the end of AT&T's sponsorship on Wednesday prior to the premiere episode of the show's 13th season.
The telecom's sponsorship was used initially to lift the adoption of text messaging through its text to vote activation, but mass adoption of the medium over the past few years has satisfied the initial sponsorship objective.
The decision comes amid declining ratings over Idol's past few seasons. While Coca-Cola and Ford will continue to sponsor the show, Variety reports that ‘Idol’ is unlikely to grant exclusivity to a new telecom partner, instead opting to feature ads from multiple companies in the future.