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.


  1. The best example in favour of your argument are official football magazines. Compare the sycophantic rubbish in officially sanctioned titles with the energy and honesty of the fanzines. Images and access are the main things you obtain by going official, but the benefits of those are immediately counteracted by the need to praise every player and promote every spending opportunity. It's immensely sad that top clubs now support, in many cases, several official titles. And sadly, you can't flip a picture of Didier Drogba in the way you could Adam Ant - it does something funny to the word SAMSUNG across his chest...

  2. I can't see how it's going to work. It'll be so out of date by time each issue is published surely?

    And it'll be toeing the coroproate line horribly. And if Simon Cowell and co do interviews for it I'll eat my hat.

  3. As long as it includes a new angle on news about the show, that hasn't been plastered over the internet, then it isn't vital to be up to the minute exclusive.

    I know there's a decline in press but there's a significant gap for pop fans which is such a shame. An X-factor magazine could partially that void.

    I honestly think that it would flourish because the programme isn't on all year long and the format opens up the opportunity to give away freebies.. imagine jedward hair style masks for the previous year? I'm 21 and I'd still probably buy it :)

    Also, I am about to finish a journalism degree and I'm in desperate need of a job haha. This kind of thing sounds right up my street!

  4. If it comes with free Jedward masks, I'm in

  5. And now we see that it has, in fact, gone belly up.