Sunday, July 29, 2007

Watching Glitterball and Make Your Play

I’ve been reviewing the participation strand which will form part of my research and one of the most surprising part of the shows has been seeing (particularly on ‘make your play’) how few winners there are.

I’ve also noted how many entrants go with answers that have already been rejected.
Having said that I do in fact find prolonged exposure quite hard work, most TV programmes of this form are generally less than 15 minutes before they’re interrupted by either commercials or at least a change of pace these shows are about 4 hours long with generally only a couple of on air presenters.
It will be interesting to see if in time the presenters move into (or return to) mainstream TV.

The challenge to keep the pace going is also evident and addressed somewhat by the going to bonus levels or taking more callers for a while (known on make your play as 'going turbo').

As a result of the preliminary viewing I’m setting some measurable events within the shows, like winners or warnings.

If you want to be part of the research do let me know at

Saturday, July 28, 2007

ITV wants to be seen as pure while call revenues roll in

After the resignation of a high-up honcho from GMTV there was an article in yesterday’s Times that highlighted both the importance of call revenues and viewer trust to ITV.
The problem may be that trust and high revenues may prove to be mutually incompatible, the share-price is currently little changed from where it was a year ago (which some may consider a minor success) but problems around the company’s shareholding by Sky cast something of a question mark over the future rating.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

revisiting the basic topic

Interesting input from discussions on the credibility of TV coverage, in fact the illusions are not unique to TV (or radio) and are accepted as part of the theatre and other 'arts' the problem (to me) appears to be that people are incessantly exposed to ‘media’ and forget that they have been expected to suspended belief for a time.

In the form of quiz type participation TV programmes the rules and warnings now take a much higher profile but surely if people stop and think (and make a call or two) they will be able to understand how it works, if I see something like 1,000 plus calls are being made each minute and about a dozen an hour are answered on live TV then it’s not that likely that I’m going to win- am I missing something?


Friday, July 20, 2007

BBC Trust (versus ITV trust)

So the controversy at the BBC is reaching new heights with some commentators holding Mark Thompson responsible, it’s the first real mettle test of the man and he seems to be acting decisively but should he have known about this before and if he did what's he been thinking? Here's the e-mail Mark sent out to the BBC staff

Not only is it a test for DG Mark it’s also a test for the ‘trust’ which is what it’s all about. How is Sir Michael Lyons (right) handling it – would Michael Grade have done better ? The 'fact' that the Police could be involved mean that this could be even more serious than it currently looks

Now the question I would like to pose is how do we expect the broadcasters to behave?
Should the BBC be held to a higher standard than the other PSBs (public service broadcasters)?

Is it any worse for the viewers to be cheated if the money is going to charity?

What are expectations in terms of programming - i.e. should news reports be the gold standard, how much do we consider the documentaries we see to be objective?

And above these where is TV just entertainment rather than reportage?

With 100’s of TV channels how can we police ‘truth’ is the answer to educate viewers to interpret actively and question, if so does this implicitly affect the governments favoured PSB channels?

If you’ve got a view please let me know also let me know if you want to make part in a survey on Participation TV.
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

BBC TV shows too little respect for its 'Brand'?

So a further row has blown up at the BBC, hot on the heels of the Blue Peter call scandal where a youngster who happened to be on site was falsely awarded the label of ‘winner’ to overcome a technical problem. This problem which seems to be far bigger was over a pre season presentation to the press where a screening showed highlights from the autumn season, the clip from an upcoming behind the scenes Royal documentary (we need another one?) that ignited such controversy had been edited to show the Queen looking unhappy after a photo session (as opposed to in truth what should have been her being unhappy before it).

So does this relate to Participation TV?

I think it does, the row is about misleading the viewer, the BBC is in danger of further diminishing its brand by cheapening it in such a way, would Disney do something as stupid? (I think not, look at this by the company’s Richard Iger 2004 address to the Royal Television Society).

Michael Grade might be showing his competitive streak in highlighting the fiasco, although he’s taken some action on ITV Play, it might be considered too little and too late. Grade though does have clear financial imperatives which partially excuse his behaviour – the BBC doesn’t and I think (personally) a head should roll (perhaps Mr Fincham?) and procedures around bought in content need to be examined.

Comments -

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Poor ITV results

Recent reports around ITVs results include the point that ITV play has not delivered the revenues that were first predicted these were £9m rather than the £27m of the year before
Here’s the Times report on ITV results.
Digital Spy also reports on the issue here.
ITV as a whole has problems beyond the Play channel including its continuing decline in audiences and the effects of the Contract Rights Renewal which was offered up at the time of the creation of a single ITV.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It’s not been a good week for terrestrial TV quizzes.

Along with Channel 5 getting the largest fine imposed (so far) by OFCOM for falsely reporting winners in a game they broadcast the Gambling Commission has reported that they have doubts around the free entry mechanism within the terrestrial broadcaster ‘games’ which are meant to stop them being gambling and subject to licensing and a requirement to pay 20% of the call revenues to charity.

Channel 5 may seek to appeal the whacking great fine of £300,000. All of 5’s programmes are made externally so they could have a case, the company that made Brainteaser (the show where the fraud took place) was the incredibly appropriate Cheetah (cheater get it?) part of the infamous Endemol empire.

You can find out what the Gambling Commission's current thinking on Participation TV is here.