about the concept…
OK. So here’s the headline idea. Take the X-Factor concept and do it online.
Hang on! That’s hardly a massive leap of imagination or creativity, you’re probably thinking, but read on, since the beauty of the idea is in its ambition, detail and execution.
Now X-Factor and the prior talent shows like Pop Idol, produced by Cowell et al. have been, and still are perenially popular. Not just here in the UK but with local audiences all around the globe.
I think it’s also fair to say that most people at some stage in their life think they may have what it takes to be a star. Misguided or not, it’s a fact. So let’s take a big bunch of wannabes from around the planet and the rest of us, who like to watch the stomach churning efforts of a tuneless wonder shaking their booty, and we know we’ve got an audience.
If we make the focal point for that audience the internet, rather than localised TV programming however, we can make a number of creative leaps. Before we progress to the details of the ‘competition’ however, let’s look at the practical considerations.
how could it work?
These days most home computers (and digital cameras or mobile phones) are capable of recording video. We would invite all interested contestants to upload video of themselves singing. Now there’s a bunch of nitty gritty detail around authenticity, fairness, equality and other stuff that we figured out would need to be managed.
We came up with solutions for all of the identifiable potential pitfalls but in the interests of keeping this brief we won’t examine those here. So, to recap, we provide an online focal point for the competition where videos can be uploaded, viewed and then ranked or scored. Entries could then be organised by genre, and other salient information such as:
- age range
original recording artist name
track period (eg. 50′s, 60′s)
..and so on. The key being that it would enable site visitors to search for content and contestants, who are relevant to their personal choices and interests.
Example. I could be looking for a female, aged 20-30, (isn’t everyone), who’s singing something by Madonna. A more specific search however, might be for a male aged 50+, from Bombay, singing the Tom Jones Christmas No1 of 1966; Green Green Grass of Home. So you see, the possibilities are quite endless. Let’s hold that thought for a moment and think about how we might drive interest and market the competition. After all without entries, all of this would be quite pointless.
“build it, and they will come”
Well they might, and the popularity of user generated content on sites like Youtube is clear (at the time of writing ranked 4th most popular website in the world), but to guarantee it’s success we’d need to offer a cash prize and/or recording contract. In fact and here’s the clincher, we wouldn’t just offer any prize. No. We’d offer the biggest cash prize in history. These days a million just doesn’t cut it. Who wants to be a Millionaire is already sounding a bit tired. So we’d need to push the boundaries far further to really generate to the right amount of press and WOM coverage to maximise the opportunity.
Furthermore, we would offer contestant support packs for download. These would provide a plethora of useful paraphanilia including for example: widgets for linking performances through social networking sites, templates for blogs, animated avatars and much more. Essentially helping the contestants to market themselves, and in turn help us market the competition.
so who might win?
Right we’ve got a global audience, with contestant entries from Abkhazia to Zimbabwe. Suprisingly, choosing a method for selecting a winner actually proved harder than any of the other considerations for the project. In fact we found it almost impossible to concur on a single argument for selecting the method for choosing a winner. Clearly the competition would need to be organised into rounds of activity, which would be strictly governed by a calendar of finite dates, for example:
- entrant registration and contribution commences
entrant registration ceases
entrant contribution ceases
voting round ceases
Of course these dates may overlap, and voting would almost certainly be held in rounds, so as to refine the competitors and selection down. Voting would almost certainly range from a negative to positive score (e.g. -10 to +10) to permit viewers to select to see both the best and worst entrants (depending on your point of view). Critically, we’d probably be doubling our audience by providing this bi-polar focus.
Ultimately we would expect to see an outright winner, voted for by a global audience. Naturally we’d then look to release official content by that artist available, of course, only via the internet, and so on. Voting could also affect tour dates which would be provided on a popularity basis and more. So much more.
the birth of a superstar?
Perhaps. It’s not difficult to see the world’s first superstar being crowned in this way. It would certainly be a phenomenon of our age. But hang on, I hear you say, didn’t someone try World Idol which is the same thing? Yes they did, sort of. The winners of a bunch of localised Pop Idol TV shows got together to fight it out. Sadly it wasn’t as well hyped as the regional versions, and didn’t get the prime-time slots. Consequently it went with somewhat of a whimper, and has very little bearing, if any, on what we are proposing here, other than in name only.
cool, so what are the revenue opportunities?
Ok so what are the opportunuties? X-Factor revenue is derived from a variety of sources including sponsorship, advertising and the TV programming and syndication is huge. And of course on top of that there are the funds latterly derived from record sales and the artist contracts. Now we’re no promoters or producers, so let’s stick to what we know and love and look at how that might translate into an online comparison? Firstly let’s sign a big hitting brand as key sponsor.
Coke, Pepsi step right up. This is right up your street. There are plenty of other global brands or linked regional ones who’d salivate at the opportunity to be the inaugeral sponsor of the first ever ‘Globovision’ song contest. But the likes of the afore mentioned companies have for a long time associated themselves with the music business.
There really are any number of potential key partners, depending on which angle you come at this from. If we consider the likes of i-Tunes or similar MP3 content providers like Napster or MSN who could link their products to the site’s uploaded content. So let’s imagine we’re listening to an amateur rendition of the Boss, and think: I haven’t heard that in ages, ooh look, I can download the original with one click right now! Cute huh? All in context, and a fantastic delivery platform linked direct to the suppliers.
Furthermore, according to PC World at the time of writing, YouTube and similar sites as responsible for driving a 50% increase in webcam sales, so no self respecting webcam manufacturer would want to miss the boat here either. Hey Logitech we’re looking at you.
Bear in mind that this isn’t just advertising, it’s perfectly contextual, real-time and absolutely on the money when it comes to target audience. This is also true of the mobile aspects of this, and integrating a mobile version of the competition site would be a no-brainer since there are almost 3 times as many internet capable phones in the world as there are connected desktop pc’s. The potential for ringtones and mobile content from providers or aggregators would be huge.
Of course there are 100 ways this could play out towards the end of the competition, but it would we feel play particularly well to a TV audience towards the later stages. Now we’re thinking X-Factor slash Eurovison slash Big Brother slash well you choose. Needless to say that this would then enter the realms of programming and syndication which would also add significantly to the coffers, and marry nicely back with the traditional TV business.
If the X-Factor guys took their business to the next level and embraced the internet, in some of the ways we’ve outlined above, imagine how profound a step that might be. Content would be available 24/7, not just during transmissons, and the opportunities expand not just inline, but exponentially.
Incidentally and just for the record. We first penned this concept in the early days of the very restrictive format of Pop-Idol, long before the advent of X-Factor. Being as smart as we must be, we already knew for example; that the competition should have been open to absolutely any adult and not just those under 30. Fortunately this oversight was remedied in X-Factor ;)
Well we hope this has given you a taste of our creativity and how the application of technology and marketing can take an established business forward. If you’ve liked our ideas, then get in touch, to see how we might help you to find ways to shift up a gear.0
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