TalkTalk is ending its sponsorship of The X Factor after a decade

Show fans could disappear from ad breaks after former Carphone Warehouse firm called it quits

Olly Murs appears on TalkTalk's X Factor sponsor ads

TalkTalk has confirmed that it is to end its sponsorship of The X Factor UK after ten years.

The ITV talent contest's relationship with the firm began in 2007, when Carphone Warehouse replaced Nokia as the show's backer.

Two years later, bosses shifted the sponsorship from CPW's retail operations to its TalkTalk services, and TalkTalk took over the arrangement when it was spun off as a separate company in 2010.

The deal was last renewed in 2014, but the telecommunications provider has opted not to extend it further, meaning it will now part ways with the Simon Cowell format after a decade.

While some might suspect falling ratings are behind the move, TalkTalk says it is refocusing marketing activities on existing customers.

"We’ve enjoyed a fantastic ten-year relationship as proud sponsors of The X Factor," a spokesperson told CampaignLive.

"As we evolve our business, our priority has shifted and so too must our marketing strategy."

TalkTalk's X Factor adverts have become known for featuring viewers - and sometimes even celebrities - miming to pop hits.

The company briefly suspended its sponsorship during last year's series, when million of its users' details were compromised by hackers.

ITV is not resting on its laurels and has already launched a search for a replacement sponsor.

According to CampaignLive, the broadcaster is seeking £15million a year, up from the £10million reportedly paid by TalkTalk. Product placement opportunities are also on offer "subject to Ofcom approval".

"From 2017, we will return with a new brand partner in one of the biggest sponsorships in TV," an ITV rep commented.

Although The X Factor's viewing figures have dropped sharply in the last few years, its popularity with the key 16-34 age demographic means it is still one of the biggest commercial opportunities on TV.

ITV recently renewed The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent for three more years, keeping them on air until 2019.

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