The X Factor final could bring in more than £10m in advertising revenue for ITV this weekend as Scarlett Lee, Anthony Russell and Dalton Andre Harris compete to be crowned the latest winner.
Media agency buyers suggest ITV is charging an average of £160,000 per 30-second spot in the final – a figure comparable to recent years. The decline in audiences across the TV schedules has driven up the cost per thousand.
Brands expected to be featuring in the ad breaks include Sainsbury’s, Amazon, Tesco and Sky.
Steven Ballinger, managing director of commercial and trading at Dentsu Aegis Network, said: "Everyone talks about how it’s not as good any more, but it’s still reaching a massive audience. If you’re a retailer and you want to get a message out there quickly, you have to be in The X Factor.
"It’s still a big programme people want to be part of. I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! is smashing it as well. When we speak to clients about their Christmas schedules, they’re the first thing they ask for."
Just Eat returned as The X Factor’s headline sponsor this series for a second year. Karmarama created 33 idents for the online takeaway platform starring chefs and drivers, and were narrated by The X Factor host Dermot O’Leary.
Alongside X Factor boss Simon Cowell judges this year include One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson as well as Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field.
ITV predicted its revenue would decline by 3% year on year in the final three months of 2018 in a trading statement earlier this month. Media agency sources suggest its TV ad revenue is experiencing a steeper decline than that, estimating the fall to be 5%. Sky Media’s year-on-year decline is expected to be similar.
Channel 4 is believed to be the best-performing of the three major TV sales houses in the final quarter of the year after the Irish rugby team’s autumn international games brought new advertisers – such as Diageo – to the broadcaster’s main channel. Its ad revenue is still only flat compared with 2017.
Media agency sources have been told ITV’s big drama for Christmas Day will be its biopic of British ice skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.
In recent years, the broadcaster has struggled to replicate the success Downton Abbey achieved on Christmas Day. The 2015 Christmas special of the period drama commanded as much as £190,000 for a 30-second spot, while last year’s Victoria got less than half of that.
ITV did not respond to a request for comment.