New Ads Sync Up with American Idol Finale

What if your iPad knew what you were watching on TV? What if web sites automatically displayed ads that corresponded to commercials you’re seeing on the big screen? Second Screen Networks is demoing this kind of synchronized advertising on this week’s American Idol finale.

Can One Man’s Twitter Account Save Survivor’s Ratings?

Survivor is facing some of its worst ratings ever, as the show is going head-to-head with Fox behemoth American Idol on Wednesday nights. But host and producer Jeff Probst hopes he can change that by engaging with the show’s audience on Twitter.

American Idol: Afraid of Andrew Garcia’s YouTube Past?

[show=americanidol size=large]No American Idol contestant enters the game without a past — the lucky ones just hope that it won’t get them disqualified, as with Frenchie Davis in 2003 for a topless photo shoot, and this year’s Chris Golightly, who had a previous recording contract with a boy band. That could be why semi-finalist Andrew Garcia has gone dark on YouTube (s GOOG).

The 24-year-old performer from Moreno Valley, Calif., was cited today by the New York Times as being “the most plainly relevant contestant this season” — not because his overall life story particularly captures the cultural zeitgeist, but because Garcia has been uploading acoustic guitar covers of pop songs to YouTube since June 2008 — just like hundreds of other aspiring musicians who might one day yearn to be Idols. Garcia’s past covers include Keri Hilson, Neyo and Kanye West’s Knock You Down and a Michael Jackson tribute that’s topped 1.2 million views.

However, the only surviving evidence of Garcia’s YouTube experimentation are the videos that were uploaded to the YouTube accounts of friends with whom he collaborated on the above songs. Since joining the show, Garcia has set all of his own videos to private, most likely to avoid offending the likes of Fox (s NWS) and 19 Entertainment over copyright violations and getting himself disqualified. However, a subversive touch does remain — the only video that now appears on his account page (which is currently nearing 50,000 subscribers) is a bootleg upload by another user of Garcia’s Idol performance of Paula Abdul’s Straight Up, which was his breakout moment of the competition. Read More about American Idol: Afraid of Andrew Garcia’s YouTube Past?

Olympics Beat Idol on Twitter as Well

Much has been written in recent days about NBC’s (s GE) ratings victory over American Idol; the network was able to glue more people to the screen last Wednesday than the singing competition airing at the same time on Fox (s NWS). In fact, NBC won this one by a land slide: It’s coverage was seen by 30.1 million people, while 18.6 million tuned into Fox. That’s the first time any competing TV event has ever had higher ratings than American Idol. Not only that, but in 2004, Idol’s audience was twice the size of that of the Winter Olympics.

The New York Times reported last week that NBC’s victory wasn’t entirely accidental. The network, which traditionally has had a huge influence on the schedule of the Olympics, was able to line up three well-known U.S. athletes on the same night. Those three actually winning gold didn’t hurt NBC either. A look at Twitter statistics provided by Trendrr seems to suggest that Idol’s overall influence may be waning, and people just prefer to talk about and tune into the programming with stars that are actually famous.

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American Idol Embarrasses Itself With Pants on the Ground

[show=americanidol size=large]Well, America, 2010’s first round of schadenfreude, courtesy of Fox, has finally come to pass. Wednesday night, the second aired episode of talent competition American Idol introduced a nation hungry for distraction from the destruction in Haiti and the late night wars to General Larry Platt.

The 62-year-old contestant auditioned in Atlanta with an original composition entitled Pants on the Ground — lyrics: “Pants on the ground / Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground” — that is just as ridiculous as it sounds. It’s a high energy performance, though, and Platt genuinely seems like a nice guy, albeit one who doesn’t quite recognize that he hasn’t been invited to perform because he stands a real chance of making it into the next round of the competition. (In fact, he was never even eligible — the show’s age cut-off is currently 28.)

Pants on the Ground is notable because it’s the first real viral hit from the season so far, one that not only has penetrated YouTube with over four thousand illicit versions, but other shows.

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Vid-Biz: Roku, DISH, Paul Abdul

Roku Raised an Additional $13.4 Million; SEC documents show the set-top box maker received the funds from Menlo Ventures over two rounds. (Contentinople)
DISH Network Profits Down 81 Percent; TiVo litigation costs and rising expenses to blame for poor second quarter, though the company did add 26,000 net subscribers for its first quarterly increase in more than a year. (The New York Times)
People Fast-Forwarded Through Paula Abdul; stats from TiVo reveal that people skipped what the sometimes nutty former American Idol judge had to say. (Broadcasting & Cable)
An Early Look at EpixHD; the private beta shows off the some online features such as social viewing that can be accessed by non-subscribers. (Multichannel News)
Turner Launches PGA iPhone App; lets fans stream live video from the 2009 PGA Championship August 13 – 16. (MediaWeek)
Rumor: iTunes 9 to Support Blu-ray; support could arrive as soon as next month, update could also include Twitter and Facebook integration. (The Apple Blog)

What “American Idol” Can Teach Us About Stats

Stats are everywhere these days. From ballot measures to the economy to health issues to baseball — there are statistical points and counterpoints enough to confuse almost any topic. And often, more often than you would guess, the way we measure something significantly influences the final results.

Indeed, how you count something is as important as what you count. For an excellent example of this in action, look no further than “American Idol.” Read More about What “American Idol” Can Teach Us About Stats