Nokia to sponsor talent show

Nokia is sponsoring Simon Cowell’s new music talent show The X Factor, which is being broadcast on ITV1 and ITV 2, for about &£3m.

It is thought that SponsorCom, the sponsorship arm of MediaCom, has negotiated the deal on behalf of Nokia.

ITV Sales was looking for &£3.5m for a sponsorship package that includes coverage on ITV1, ITV2 and an interactive element.

The show will be broadcast on Saturday evenings from the middle of September to December.

Music executive Cowell shot to fame after appearing on ITV’s Pop Idol series. The broadcaster has no plans for a further Pop Idol series until 2005.

The X Factor is being developed by Syco, a joint venture production company set up between Cowell and record company BMG, along with Thames Television.

The show will pit three celebrity music judges against one another in a bid to win public approval. Each will be charged with whipping contestants into shape in one of three categories: a solo artist aged 16- to 25-years old, a solo artist aged over 25 and a band.

The X Factor will be Cowell’s first show for ITV since he signed a two-year exclusive deal with the broadcaster in April.

ITV will be hoping the show will perform as well as Pop Idol and that it will help to boost its share of commercial impacts for 2004, which are down year on year. The first series of Pop Idol averaged 7.4 million viewers, a 37 per cent share, while the final attracted 13.1 million, a 57 per cent share.

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