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Friday, April 30, 2010

Who wants the official X Factor magazine?

The producers of X Factor are inviting bids from publishers who would like to publish the official magazine. I understand the fee for the licence is £2,000,000. Amazingly, there are still two companies in the running.

I've always been sceptical about official magazines. Usually by the time they've got round to doling out the official licence then the unofficial publishers have made hay. First time I came across this was around the time that Adam Ant was the biggest thing in British pop. You weren't allowed to publish posters of him because his image was owned, beauty spot and all, by the Merchandising Corporation of America, who sent their lawyers round to make sure you weren't doing anything they didn't make money from. Felix Dennis, who had made at least some of his fortune from unofficial Bruce Lee magazines, instructed a designer to simply shift the beauty spot from one cheek to the other, thereby getting round the image that they had copyrighted.

The other problem with official merchandise is the very fact that it's official, which means that it primarily has to please the people who granted the licence, who know nothing whatsoever about publishing and tend to be over-sensitive. They've usually got wildly unrealistic ideas about the kind of advertising they can get, based on a conversation that somebody had with somebody they were sitting next to in First Class. This is further complicated in this case by the rumour that the producers are looking for a magazine which is weekly during the run of the programme and then monthly thereafter. This would be different. I predict lots of fun and games.