I’ve heard this on Radio Five Live’s bulletins at 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock, but strangely I haven’t found any mention of this on the internet at all.
The offices of Big Game TV have been raided. Apparently it is alleged that at certain times callers had no chance of getting through. I am shocked.
I am surprised, though, that Big Game TV is the first one to be investigated. On-screen it doesn’t seem like one of the scammiest channels — just one of the most boring.
Most might not bat an eyelid if a small Sky channel is investigated, but what could be interesting about this is that ITV have their fingers in the Big Game TV pie. When ITV first started experimenting with participation TV on ITV3 and ITV2 it was simulcasting Big Game TV. Now Big Game TV makes The Daily Quiz, which is broadcast on Men & Motors and ITV Play.
Quiz channels, or ‘participation TV’ as the broadcasters prefer to call it, are a little bit of a hobby horse of this blog. The channels like to set impossible puzzles and they never explain the solutions. Essentially this turns the whole process into a lottery, as callers end up guessing a random number. Callers pay 60p or Â£1 per entry, and every so often somebody wins Â£50 or something.
ITV Play’s participation TV programming is said to make Â£2m per month. Goodness knows how much the others must be making then, because ITV’s programmes usually seem the most respectable of all of them (although I have noticed while flicking through that The Mint is beginning to set those ridiculous ‘add the numbers’ games).
Here is an interesting discussion about Grab a Grand, a programme on Sky digital which recently set up a channel, SmileTV, on Freeview. According to the DS forummers, Grab a Grand staff members are blatantly phoning up their own channel with wrong answers. And there is Who needs shopping channels? on this blog, which had some interesting comments before it got swamped by idiots who wanted to sling mud around…
If anything happens as a result of the raid, you can bet that quiz channels will find a way round it. When AuctionWorld was closed a couple of years ago for displaying grossly inflated ‘guide prices’, the other shopping channels merely replaced their ‘guide prices’ with ‘start prices’.
Update (20/05/2006): The Daily Quiz has been replaced by This Morning Puzzle Book on ITV Play today (This Morning at 6pm!).
Also, according to Sascha on this thread, The Mint makes Â£100,000 per night!
Update (21/05/2006): Sascha at TV Forum again:
The overnight quiz game on The Hits, Smash Hits etc. music channels, is actually broadcast from a scruffy building in Budapest, Hungary. It’s beamed into the UK via a very dubious company which also makes pornographic videos for the eastern European market.
If that’s true it is very strange. I always thought that those programmes looked particularly weird…