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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Management Accountant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for a independently owne...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee