Kelly Clarkson Most Successful Idol Recording Artist Ever, According to Nielsen Co.
The experts in crunching pop culture entertainment data, the Nielsen Company (yes, they do the TV ratings, too) have come up with a raft of Idol-focused data dissecting this TV-fed pop culture phenomenon -- probably to help those of us struggling to pull interesting story ideas out of the long-predicted David vs. David finale next week.
My thoughts: Remember when I said pop and rock stars make more money for Idol than R&B stars? And isn't it surprising to see that Idol's biggest audience block is twice as old as the competitors? And is it a sign of erosion that debut albums from the last two Idol winners haven't sold $1-million copies?
Here's a sample of Nielsen's reports:
TV Ratings -- People age 35-49 watched American Idol Season 7 the most, making up almost 29% of the total audience. The most watched episode this season was the premiere episode on Tuesday, 1/15/08 averaging 33 million viewers. American Idol’s highest viewership was Season 5 (Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry's season), where more than 30 million people watched on average, compared to 12 million the first season and 27 million this current season.
Mobile -- The average American Idol participant voted via text message 38 times in April 2008. Women tend to vote via text with greater frequency than men: in April 2008, female voters of American Idol submitted 44% more text-message votes than their male counterparts.
Music -- Kelly Clarkson is the best selling American Idol contestant with album and digital download sales of 18.9 million. Carrie Underwood is second with album and digital download sales of 15.7 million. Until 2006, when the winner was Taylor Hicks, each season's "American Idol" champ sold at least 1 million copies on his or her debut album. Last year's winner, Jordin Sparks, hasn't reached that level yet, either.
Online -- Male contestants David Cook, David Archuleta and Jason Castro dominate the show’s consumer discussion online with 14.3% and 12.5% and 10.5% buzz volume, respectively. The most popular American Idol contestant from opinions and feedback from Hey! Nielsen’s online panel is Carrie Underwood. Web traffic to American Idol websites saw the most unique visitors in March 2007.
Advertising -- During 2007, American Idol featured 4,349 product placement occurrences. So far in 2008, the number of placements is surging—the program racked up 3,291 occurrences the first three months of 2008 alone.
Idol Artist Record Sales and Digital Download Totals:
Kelly Clarkson 9.4 million 9.4 million
Carrie Underwood 8.5 million 7.2 million
Clay Aiken 4.8 million 469,000
Chris Daughtry 4 million 5.2 million
Ruben Studdard 2.5 million 250,000
Fantasia 2.3 million 698,000
Bo Bice 721,000 474,000
Jordin Sparks 717,000 n/a
Taylor Hicks 702,000 344,000
Katharine McPhee 371,000 1.1 million
Blake Lewis 291,000 n/a
Justin Guarini 143,000 28,000
Highest Selling Idol Artist Albums