The big winner of 'The X Factor' is not who you think it is

Shayne Ward, a shop assistant from Manchester, may have topped the viewers' poll inThe X Factor and his single, "That's my goal", seems set to be the Christmas number one, but he was not the real winner of Saturday's television talent contest.

Whether Ward will still be in the public eye this time next year is debatable; last year's winner, soul crooner Steve Brookstein, has all but disappeared. But one thing seem certain - in 12 month's time, Simon Cowell, the creator of The X Factor, is likely to be presiding over a third money-spinning series.

Cowell, a former talent spotter turned Pop Idol judge, is "the most important creative force in popular music, television and pop music in the world", said one senior music industry figure. And he is now heading to be one of the richest.

Cowell, 46, will not say how much he is worth, but a survey of music business moguls put his fortune at £35m. He recently said that he would like to be worth £100m "in a few years".

The finale of the second series of The X Factor will have taken him another leap down that path. The show was produced by Cowell's company, SycoTV, with Thames Television, and his record label, SycoMusic, has signed Ward. Those rights are in turn licensed to SonyBMG.

Although The X Factor was narrowly beaten by the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, which netted 10.4m viewers, Cowell will not be too worried. Thanks to the publicity generated by his show, which racked up an average of 9.2m viewers, "That's My Goal" is expected to be the 2005 Christmas hit. An album and second single will follow in the spring.

Winning is expected to change the life of Ward, who comes from a rundown area of Manchester, whose father is in prison for rape and whose mother was arrested last week for assault. But it is not guaranteed. Brookstein, who was already an experienced club singer, split from the Cowell set-up, unhappy about being asked to record covers.

Record sales are not the only way The X Factor makes money for Cowell. Most of the voting was by telephone and text which, at 35p a call, provides regular revenue during the 18-week run, shared between Syco, Thames and Harvest Media, a telecoms company. Although weekly voting figures are not released, Saturday's 10.8 million votes netted an estimated £3.5m. Added to this is income from merchandising and DVD sales.

The X Factor is only one part of the Cowell empire built up in the 15 years since he began as a talent spotter for Sony. He has helped mastermind the careers of artists as diverse as Robson and Jermone, Gareth Gates and Il Divo. Other shows following the X Factor format are in the pipeline, as well as a feature film - about a boy band, of course.

A web of deals links Cowell with other music business figures. Louis Walsh, a judge on The X Factor, and now Ward's manager, also manages Westlife, whose records are released on Syco's label. Simon Fuller, who discovered the Spice Girls, launched Pop Idol with the acerbic Cowell as judge, where he was an instant success. The American Idol version was even bigger, earning him a cartoon appearance on The Simpsons, the ultimate cultural accolade.

The two Simons recently fell out over claims that Cowell "stole" the Pop Idol format for The X Factor, but in an out-of-court settlement, Cowell agreed to return as a judge for American Idol, while Fuller's company gets a share of the next series of The X Factor. The next Shayne Wards can already sign up for auditions.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star