X Factor will reportedly be on air until at least 2022 after ITV offered Simon Cowell an extension for the show – despite record low ratings.
The current series’ audience has fallen to its lowest level since the programme began in 2004, according to data published by Barb.
Despite the low numbers, Cowell said ITV was keen to renew X Factor because of its growing popularity among young people.
He told The Media: “We’ve just been offered an extension on both shows because of the 16 to 34-year-old audience.
“We could probably do three years or five years. It makes a lot of money. We got to a point years ago where we were able to compete with Strictly because there was that huge audience.
“We’re losing people now but fortunately the young audience has actually grown this year and all the advertisers and the sponsors want that income on a Saturday.”
ITV’s talent show unveiled a new judging line-up for this year’s series, with Robbie Williams, his wife Ayda and One Direction star Louis Tomlinson joining Cowell.
Since its launch 14 years ago, it has produced a string of internationally successful acts, including One Direction, Olly Murs, Little Mix and Leona Lewis.
But in recent years it has struggled in the ratings battle with its rival Strictly Come Dancing and its audience has fallen every year since 2010, when an average of 14.1 million tuned in.
Some 17.7 million people saw Matt Cardle crowned the winner in The X Factor final in 2010, but last year the number was just 5.8 million to see Rak-Su win the title.
For The X Factor’s key 16-34 audience, the programme is averaging 1.3 million viewers and a share of 42%, compared with Strictly, which is averaging 1.1 million and a 37% share.
All figures quoted are the official ratings, which include people who recorded the programme and watched up to seven days later. They also include +1 and HD viewers.