The Talented X-factor

So far what we can draw from Week’s 3 lecture and outlined in our reading ‘The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media’ by José Van Dijck, is that media convergence can be defined as an interaction between the old and the new forms of media. Basically in layman’s term, bringing the old into the new, sort of speak.

Thee best example of a media convergence would be the infamous international talent show. That’s right, X- Factor. Beside for its staggering popularity for the last decade or so, X-factor has manage to remain and prevail through the changes that digital media has generated. How it does it manage to do that you ask yourself?


Well, X-factor secrets lies in the series of ways it interacts with their audiences and for their audience to interact with them. The key was to use new media to connect and involve the audience by cleverly using the contest concept to get the audiences to vote for their favorite/preferred vocalists through their smart phones and iPads. The audiences also have the opportunity to call in, tweet and post their opinions on live TV and on other platforms, i.e. Facebook, Twitter. But mostly importantly X-factor usage of the emotional and personal backstory of their contestants on their website which creates an attachment or connection to the audience. Viewers are able read the stories and make comments and feedback on each contestants on the website. By having audience participation in this way, the X-factor creates an appearance for the viewers that they were not just merely audiences but also judges and friends of contestants and that their opinions and their votes do matter.



  1. Who would have thought that this worldwide known show can be described as an example of convergence?! – Definetely not me. It’s great that you’ve spotted it; something not related to technology (in a way). As you mentioned, I’ve also noticed that not only X-factor but also the vast majority of (if not all) talent shows rely on the emotional background of a contestant. Therefore, people feel sympathy, some even relate to their misfortune, hence loads of supportive votes to the ”poor guy”. As you stated, expressing thoughts/opinion does create an illusion that audience matters. Yet, in my opinion, X-factor has lost its initial ”special feature”; and the falling ratings only confirm this. Maybe it’s time for Simon Cowell to change his tactics?

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  2. I think this is a great example of convergence because X-Factor can be seen doing everything in their power to sustain TV viewings. Although there has been talks of declines in viewings, you can’t deny that they still get a hefty amount of people tuning in to see who the next big “star” will be. Bringing in the old with the new, they’ve managed to make X-Factor more modern, appealing to a younger ‘pre-teen’ target audience who are primarily the ones still watching television and making it feel like something everyone can be apart of. Even if this a subconscious effect, you can see how viewers might get attached to a particular band or character due to the interactive qualities of the show.

    I think this is the way to move forward for reality TV shows as there isn’t always enough to hold the viewer’s attention, in the same way a documentary or drama series might.

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