American Idol Fans Break Text Messaging Record - InformationWeek

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5/23/2008
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American Idol Fans Break Text Messaging Record

AT&T customers said they tend to text more frequently during Fox's American Idol season than other times of year, and some first learned to text message by voting for the show's contestants.

American Idol fans broke text messaging records with AT&T by generating more than 78 million messages this season.

AT&T announced the record this week, saying text messaging continued to play a significant role in viewers' interactive experiences during the show's seventh season.

"There's no question that Idol fans are texting in huge numbers," David Christopher, chief marketing officer of AT&T's wireless operations, said in a statement.

The company conducted an informal poll through its Web site from March 7 through May 5, to learn more about customers' use of text messaging for the show. The responses from 416 people indicate that the show has affected text messaging habits in several ways.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents said they tend to text more frequently during Fox's American Idol season than other times of year, and 43% said they send text messages to others to discuss the show while watching it. Twenty-two percent said they first learned to text message by voting for the show's contestants.

AT&T introduced text message voting for the second season of American Idol in 2003. Last week, the company added another text messaging component of the show. During visits to the contestants' hometowns, the show's producers used text messages to inform three finalists that they had been chosen to continue competing.

"We rolled out a lot of great Idol-themed content this season that kept fans engaged and connected. From American Idol trivia, special sweepstakes, TXT chats, vote number reminders and, of course, voting, there were plenty of opportunities for AT&T customers to enhance their favorite Idol moments," Christopher said.

Votes for American Idol winner David Cook helped break records.

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