Any eyes that regularly peruse the pages of this particular Manchester PR agency’s blog will know two things. As an office, we have a collective penchant for all things social media and digital, while most of us also have something of a personal passion for ITV’s smash hit, star-making programme.
As such running a news story about Twitter and Facebook, our two favourite social networks, and their influence on the results of X Factor, that ratings pulling television show, is a sure fire way to attract some Smoking Gun attention. Which is exactly what The Telegraph.co.uk did on Sunday, when it featured a short analysis on the burgeoning, but seemingly little-understood (until now) relationship between these online platforms and the successful talent contest.
Media advertising agency Carat conducted a survey of 13,000 people that regularly switch on for Saturday and Sunday broadcasts, and found 66% viewed Twitter as the most reliable source for opinion and analysis on the contestants, and would base their vote on tweets over traditional media and the judges’ summaries of each performance. Despite having previously declared his loathing for the service, even the man behind the programme, Simon Cowell, has signed up for an account (twitter.com/#!/SimonCowell). Furthermore, 51% of viewers update their status on Facebook while watching each instalment.
This brings about an interesting proposition. We’ve just finished the eighth series of X Factor, which means we’re all pretty used to the formula by now. And, in October, the BBC reported on how Strictly Come Dancing was winning the ratings war between the two rival talent shows, a situation that, of course, may have been down to Simon Cowell’s notable absence from our screens, the new judges, or Strictly’s contestants.
With the office crystal ball currently out on loan all we can really do is speculate as to why this has happened. But this also proves it’s not unrealistic to consider that X Factor may be on the wane… and well before anyone mentions anything to do with an over saturated music industry that’s looking increasingly incapable of supporting so many manufactured chart toppers and their expensive video shoots.
As such the changing the format could work, so how about in the next series doing away with the judges altogether? Louis et al can retain their positions as pseudo-managers, but during the live broadcasts simply bicker in the background, with cameras occasionally cutting away to reveal their ongoing disagreements, while the audience take full responsibility, basing their decisions on social media and word of mouth, thus making us feel more involved than ever.
Realistically this perhaps isn’t the kind of thing the presenters, or producers, will want to introduce, at least not for a while anyway, and in the US viewers can now vote for free through Twitter- a step that shows social media is being taken seriously. But in a world where tickets to Barbara Streisand at Manchester’s monolithic MEN can cost £550, and Jedward exist, even as a concept, it doesn’t seem like handing over more control to We, the people, could do any more harm. After all, many of those currently making musical decisions don’t seem to be that well qualified either.