It's fair to say 2011 wasn't the best year for the Syco TV empire - Britain's Got Talent drew lower than expected numbers after a reworked panel failed to set the world alight, The X Factor was similarly subdued in the viewing department as newbies Gary, Tulisa, Kelly and even a live Wembley final couldn't repeat the 2010 figures... and the less said about Red or Black? the better...
However, as a new year begins and the talent show wars get ready to go into overdrive with the arrival of the BBC's big-money buy-in, The Voice, there is some good news for Mr Cowell and company - his shows are very big online.
Indeed, in UK YouTube terms, nothing comes close to the irresistible lure of TV talent replays, it seems, as the official channels of The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent are responsible for nearly 1.6 billion views combined.
Top of the tree is The X Factor, attracting over 815 million views on its official account, and it continues to grow fast, racking up around 20 million new views each and every month.
Not far behind, the second most viewed UK account is the Britain's Got Talent YouTube channel, which currently has more than 781 million views across its 350 videos, including the worldwide internet sensation that was Susan Boyle's first appearance on BGT, which alone has garnered in excess of 20 million views on the official channel, as well as umpteen million more on "unofficial" channels.
In the worldwide charts the shows don't do quite as well, though, only placing 40th and 46th respectively behind YouTube royalty such as Universal Music (nearly 7 billion views), Justin Bieber (2.2 billion views) and Lady Gaga (2 billion views).
However, Cowell's big two soundly beat the BBC's official YouTube account into third place in the UK charts - which, despite hosting near-Boyle beating videos like a sketch from The One Ronnie (17 million views) and Lena's 2010 Eurovision Song Contest winning performance (13.8 million views), in total can only manage 763 million total upload views.
The BBC Worldwide account comes in fifth in the UK charts with a further 600 million views for the Beeb, just behind the BlueXephos comedy gaming channel, which has delivered a staggering 632 million upload views to get itself into fourth place in the YouTube charts.
Here are the top ten UK YouTube accounts (by upload views), according to data from Famecount social media statistics:
1. The X Factor - 815,308,859
2. Britain's Got Talent - 781,763,210
3. BBC - 763,981,231
4. BlueXephos - 632,411,279
5. BBC Worldwide - 599,730,967
6. HDCYT - 521,760,080
7. UKFDubstep - 517,465,442
8. ITN - 501,145,807
9. SteveAATW - 484,597,031
10. Adele - 414,898,950