The $2.5 Billion Dollar Brand: American Idol

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WE business journalists like to put a dollar value on things--and this number is alarmingly larger than I'd ever imagine. On its way to becoming the most lucrative multimedia property of all time, the American Idolbrand is about to expand.

On the Money regular, Ad Age's Claire Atkinson, reporting that Idol is moving towards Idol branded products like chocolate bars, ice cream, and Monopoly games - and also experiential brand extensions like an Idol theme-park attraction and a virtual "Idol" world, like Second Life, to let websurfers 'live' the Idol dream.

On Friday I reported on how Idol is likely to bring Fox from the number four spot to number one when the powerhouse launches in January. I praised Fox for not over-exposing Idol by running it year-round, the way ABC overdid it with 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'--but this would truly make Idol a year-round entertainment experience.

The question remains if Idol will stay hot as ever--and if people will continue not to mind the obvious product placement.

Fox and Fremantle Media are certainly milking it for all its worth--it already brings in $500 million a year in ad dollars.

Questions? Comments?