Watching American Idol this week, I noticed something I found strange. Once the show is over, American Idol has all of its viewers vote on their favorite candidates by calling or texting a given number. In this manner, candidates receive their support and phone companies reap the benefits of their customers using minutes and text messages to support their favorite artist. American Idol should bring their voting system up to modern times by allowing online voting. This provides a number of benefits for Fox.
First, the pool of voters would expand significantly as viewers who can not connect to the American Idol phone lines would be able to access the web site. In addition, for many people, accessing a web site holds a much lower barrier of entry as people use the Internet but might not find particular interest in making a phone call.
Second, changing the voting system in this way could bring greater revenue to Fox. Every visitor who votes on the American Idol web site would see Fox’s advertising, thereby increasing ad revenue for Fox. In addition, Fox could place each performer’s songs for sale next to their name on the voting page. This would inspire many more people to buy their favorite singer’s song from the night as it is fresh in their mind and their interest is high buy contest votes.
Lastly, it could provide a more balanced voting system. with the phone lines, people will call in as many times as they can get through, significantly inflating their votes. Doing it online, they can regulate voters by IP address. In addition, the voting system could become more complex, incorporating an overall ranking system of the contestants that could be easier to convey through a web interface.
In all, improving the American Idol voting system with an online system could provide huge benefits to Fox. With little overhead required, it seems a no-brainer to take the system further.