The Media in the Press

The votes have been counted and verified. And I can reveal the winner of X Factor 2009 is… ITV.

Second year Journalism student, Alan Robertson, of Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers.

Despite reaching the climax of its sixth series on Sunday evening, the X Factor phenomenon seems set for even bigger and better things.

Viewing figures released yesterday revealed almost 20 million people – 62 per cent of the TV audience – tuned in to watch Geordie Joe McElderry take top spot, making it one of ITV’s biggest rating successes ever, today’s Herald (page 8) reports.

With around 10 million votes cast and 30-second advertising slots selling for as much as £250,000, ITV is expected to net upwards of £18 million.

And the moneymaking machine is not set to end according to Robert Beveridge, a lecturer in media at Edinburgh Napier University. “The reality is that people do like to watch something they can talk about. There is going to be a future for live-event television,” he says in The Scotsman (page 12).

The future, according to Simon Cowell in an interview with BBC2’s Newsnight, could see the X Factor format applied to political issues with the public hearing two sides of a debate before voting on the outcome. Independent columnist Tom Sutcliffe describes the proposal as “distinctly unnerving” (page 37) while the Scottish Daily Mail (page 10) reads: ‘The prospect of crucial election issues being slugged out on a show where priority is given to maximising sensation and emotion is more than a little terrifying.’

Meanwhile, STV has opted out of showing Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations, to save money, The Scotsman (page 7) reports. BBC Scotland will air its show from its Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow while STV will settle for archive footage, including the likes of Johnny Beattie and Stanley Baxter, in a pre-recorded programme – Scotland’s Always Had Talent. A spokesperson for STV said: “We’re not planning to go live at the bells. Some years we record and some years we go live – regardless, STV is bringing viewers some new programmes.”

Online-only publications will now be accountable to the Press Complaints Commission after the media watchdog extended its remit, The Independent (page 21) reports. The Press Standards Board of Finance chair, Guy Black, said: “This decision is a logical development in self-regulation, recognising the moves in the magazine sector towards online-only titles, and underlines the effectiveness of our system.”

And the Daily Telegraph’s (page 19) Gillian Reynolds pays tribute to veteran broadcaster, Terry Wogan, who is set leave his Radio 2 breakfast slot at the end of this week.

Other media stories:

* The Guardian has launched its first iPhone application, allowing readers to access news and multimedia content for a download fee of £2.39 – (page 8).

* Shed Media, the television production company that makes hit television shows such as Supernanny, has confirmed it is considering an indicative approach from a buyout consortium – The Independent (page 46), The Herald (page 24), The Scotsman (Business, page 8).

* US newspaper rivals the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have exchanged a ‘series of barbed comments’ after an NYT column claimed the Journal was “tilting rightwards” – The Guardian (page 4).

* Production company Ten Alps will launch a new online TV channel for accountants – The Times (page 43).

* Head of Strategy Development at Virgin Media, Andrew Barron, has been promoted to chief operating officer – The Daily Telegraph (Business, page 10).