Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Germany and the USA Money Madness

As promised I've found a bit more on the participation TV experience from Germany – see a report here.
Looking at various links I see also that the USA has had a run of a show called Midnight Money Madness which was on TBS (Turner which is part of AOLWarner) but according to the TBS website it is no longer ‘airing’. The programme was produced by Endemol and involved making an initial qulaifying text message.

If anyone know more about this one please e-mail to

Sunday, June 24, 2007

more background

It’s another factor in the process around TV participation that whereas sometime ago the party with answers to give would be the broadcaster. With the change in broadcasting structures and a move to a more publisher/broadcaster (as opposed to producer/broadcaster) there are often other companies involved. One of the big companies in the saga around questionable procedures at ITV has been the interactive TV platform provider Opera Interactive Technology.

Often these companies are operating in several markets using a "schtick" that is described by paidcontent.org as being to –
"..air rudimentary on-screen word or number games, invite viewers to call a premium-rate line with the answer, then sit back and rake in the cash."

As I mentioned in the last couple of posts this is not a UK only format and I see that in Germany the call volumes are incredible so much so that German broadcaster NTV has links to a 1,000-member forum where German viewers pool their experiences and knowledge, I shall look into this and see what I can find.

If you know anything try e-mailing me at Itvplaysurvey@btopenworld.com

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's worldwide

I was interested today to hear from Rustum Kozain in South Africa who tells me that the Participation TV virus is active out there too.

I'm hoping that he'll provide more details it seems that the game Rustum describes is an SMS based one which has a prize draw (so sounding very much like a lottery) but it also surprisingly uses the tactics that some games used here.

That is where some answers are unexpected and not the ones that you might consider correct - perhaps this is used to attract people who think that they are going to share the angle that the quiz setter has and thus increase their chances of winning.

The show there is called 'SMS to win' let me know if you have heard of it or other worldwide examples - ITVPaysurvey@btopenworld.com

Monday, June 18, 2007

Finding links

ITV's recent Timeline

Since ITV Play was launched last year a number of things have happened to the business of ITV, while not saying that there is an absolute link between them all I intend to produce a timeline showing what I consider to be factors in ITV’s business performance – they will be related to the ITV share price (also the sector performance).

The sort of things I will include (I hope are) the media coverage – the headline audience figures announcements (like the arrival of Michael Grade). I do not seek to imply cause and effect but hope that the terrain that the research is playing out across will be registered.

If you can think of factors in ITV over the last 12-18 months that are of significance drop a line to itvplaysurvey@btopenworld.com –thanks Tim

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Let’s play a QUIZ

Now regulation has been troubling me of late..

Looking at ITV it appears that regulation should be a fairly straightforward matter – the regulator being the body who grants the licence OFCOM – if the company fails to meet the terms of their licence OFCOM can fine them or in the extreme take away their licence.
But for participation the matter is not so clear cut, ITV Play uses premium rate calls so perhaps the regulator is ICSTIS?

Oh and some people say that the ITV Play games are actually a form of gambling so is it the gambling commission?
So is
c) The Gambling Commission ?

Answers to itvplaysurvey@btopenworld.com
Calls will not be charged and their may be a prize!

Monday, June 11, 2007

How to get responses for a research

I'm not sure if anyone has tips as to how to get responses from letters?
When I first started this research I wrote to a few people to ask for input, Charles Allen (he’d been ITV boss when the channel launched) – no reply
Richard Woolfe (Sky) – no reply (and now he’s having employment tribunal trouble)
William van Rest –ITV Play at least I got a no.

Channel 5’s News supremo Chris Shaw kindly replied and did give a note of an article he’d written for the Media Guardian.
If anyone want s to help or has information about Telemedia (where the presenters are trained) I’d be grateful details to itvplaysurvey@btopenworld.com

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Is a game of chance a lottery ?

One of the key questions around the quiz formats like ITV Play and Quiz Call is are they a lottery - I was interested to see that the mad comments blog has noted that The Gambling Commission is set to rule on this, (good piece here too) the implications are not just the specific late night gameshow ghettos there'll be a knock on to some of those peak time shows too. But figures are that the chances of getting through to some shows were as high as an incredible 5,000-1 at peak times mean that this is an outside gamble with slim chances of winning.
The point (to me though) is What is ITV for is it something more than a vehicle for exploiting broadcasting capacity?

Mr Grade probably needs to re- invigorate the ITV brand and give a mission statement that is clear and inclusive.

Earlier predictions around a privatised Channel Four and a Sky owned Channel Five are looking noticably more likely and a clear differentiation is a goal ITV should aim to convert as soon as it can.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The world of (TV) branding

You might wonder why I’ve decided to look at branding for TV as a subject for research I’ll summarise here

1) TV in the UK was until the mid 1980s characterised as a ‘public good’ rather than a consumer commodity, the powerful and the good administered it and decided the rules that it should play by, strangely they were often the people who viewed it least and considered it little.

2) In the 1980s technology and a government that favoured deregulation (re -regulation?) conspired to change the rules of the game, Sky and BSB saw a new economic opportunity that could be commercialised.

3) The multiplicity of TV channels had a mixture of distinct and not so distinct programming, University Challenge moved from ITV (Granada) to the BBC, reruns of The Avengers appear on the BBC, Men Behaving Badly moved from ITV to BBC. ITV and BBC followed the Channel 4 model and moved from being a straight broadcaster/producer to a broadcaster, producer, publisher commissioner. UK Gold and similar re packaging channels became common .

4) New technology emerged that further blurred the origin of content people watched BBC content as they wished via Sky plus.

So where does ITV stand as a broadcaster and a brand – ITV play was launched as a part of a multi-channel answer to BBC and Sky offerings or was it just a method of creating a new revenue stream?
Does ITV Play fit with a historic public service broadcasters’ programming treasures such as Brideshead Revisited, World in Action or The Prisoner?

Who better to tell us than the viewer?

The research seeks to determine what the ITV Play project tells us about ITV as a brand – can it use the window of opportunity around the remaining days of bandwidth scarcity to ensure its future?

If this resonates with you in any way drop me a line at ITVPlaysurvey@btopenworld.com and I’ll be happy to consult with you, I’m particularly interested to hear from

* Viewers and participants
* People in the broadcast industry and those working on participation content,
* Brand consultants,

* And those working on regulatory issues (ICSTIS and OFCOM)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The (re) Search continues

More on ITV Play research..

Rather pleasingly I got some assistance via my Linked in request. One with some ideas and input the other a guy kind enough to have a dry run on the questionnaire.

I also now have 2 further books to help with the branding angle – No Logo and A Preface to Marketing Management both via the rather fantastic Bookmooch
Views on ITV Play and Participation TV?
Please e-mail ITVplaysurvey@btopenworld.com

Sunday, June 03, 2007

More on Participation TV

My research on participation TV continues, I’m putting a query on Linkedin and also going to check out some of the other offerings. any thoughts?

What happened to Playdate?
What do you think of 5’s Quizcall ?
If you want to help or have a view please e-mail ITVplaysurvey@btopenworld.com

Friday, June 01, 2007


ITV Play survey and research into participation TV..

I’m working on a project to establish a little more about people’s reactions to ITV Play in its various forms.

Do you enjoy watching these channels – is it just a bit of fun?

Have you taken part in any of these games?

Do you feel strongly about these sort of channels/games?
Is it ethical?

If you want to be part of the research with a chance to win from the prize draw (including radios and clocks) please e-mail me at ITVplaysurvey@btopenworld.com