AT&T says “American Idol” fans sent 78 million text messages during season seven, breaking last year’s record of 64.6 million. How significant has “American Idol” voting been in the adoption of SMS among the masses in the US? AT&T thinks “Idol,” which introduced voting by SMS in 2003 has been the single most important factor. In an informal poll on AT&T’s web site, 22% admitted to having first learned to send SMS messages by watching the show.
It’s quite a payoff for AT&T, which doesn’t break out revenue from SMS messages, and an even greater achievement, considering overall ratings for “American Idol” were down 10% this season, meaning fewer were exposed to AT&T’s sponsorship of the show.