In case you haven’t heard of it (I literally learned of its existence last night), the X Factor is essentially the UK bred version of American Idol. At its base, it is a talent show filled with derisive judging, providing pleasure to a middle America like audience, served a la schadenfreude.
Last week, American Idol announced it would incorporate online voting into its show. In response, X-Factor host Simon Cowell decided to up the ante, with a tool to enable paid-for voting via Facebook before the next US series.
The show’s creators are reportedly in discussions with the social network to figure out how viewers can vote via Facebook’s Credits payment system. Cowell wants Facebook voting by Credits in place by autumn when the show launches in the US.
Facebook Credits are an integral part of Facebook’s growing virtual economy. The credits can be topped up with any credit card and used as currency for virtual goods including games like Farmville, Restaurant City and Mafia Wars. Facebook is currently taking a 30% cut of the microtransactions. The Facebook Credits also rolled out in physical UK retailers in November of last year.
It’s a smart move considering how much easier it is for the average person to log into Facebook or Twitter and voice their opinions as opposed to texting or picking up the phone. Also, the X-Factor, would take a cut of the Facebook Credits bought, and with over 2.3 million Facebook fans, the operation could provide a decent cash flow.