Cowell and Cole's absence fuels doubt over audience numbers for the 2011 series.
ITV's flagship entertainment show The X Factor is facing a potential 10% year-on-year decline in ad revenues following this season's departure of star judges Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, according to media agency estimates.
Cowell, Cole and fellow judge Dannii Minogue have been replaced by Take That star Gary Barlow, former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland and N-Dubz performer Tulisa Contostavlos for the latest series, which begins this Saturday (20 August).
Media agency Carat suggests that audiences and ad revenues for the show could drop by as much as 10%, and estimates the cost of a 30-second spot in this year's series could drop from pounds 165,000 to pounds 154,000 for September.
However, according to Adrian English, head of broadcast at Carat, there is already rising interest in the revamped show, in particular with the presence of Barlow on the judging panel.
'While viewers may not tune in on week one without Cowell, word of mouth could quickly build audiences,' he added.
ITV's other Saturday-night stalwart, Britain's Got Talent, performed relatively poorly in the spring, having been accused of 'losing its 'x' factor'. …