A quiz channel (also known as a participation television channel) is a television channel that focuses on phone-in quizzes. The quizzes usually focus on puzzles, such as filling in blanks, identifying subjects, or other forms of word puzzles. The channels make money by encouraging viewers to call a toll phone number for the chance to play.
The first dedicated quiz channel is considered to be Germany's 9Live, which launched on September 1, 2001. The best known example in the United Kingdom is Quiz TV (2004–2006), the first to launch in that country. Two major commercial television networks, ITV and Channel Four Television Corporation, through Ostrich Media launched ITV Play and Quiz Call respectively to capitalize on the phenomenon. There are a large amount of quiz channels, particularly on satellite television, with many clones of each other. They are most common at night, where many smaller channels close down and show the quiz channel content in return for a share of the revenue. Portugal also has a substantial amount of quiz programmes, especially on terrestrial channels (including public RTP), however in the daytime they are disguised as pimba-themed talk shows, with blatant phone-in cutaways and quiz participation.
Due to a number of incidents where the fairness of quiz channels and shows came to the attention of the media and regulators in the UK, a number of broadcasters have switched to other types of participation television, focusing primarily on roulette but also bingo and other casino games as well as branching out into other forms of participation television, such as televised sex lines.
Most of the major controversies involving participatory television have occurred in the United Kingdom, where these shows have been late-night staples on some channels.
Quiz channels have received large number of complaints due to use of premium-rate telephone numbers, "impossible" questions and gambling. Often it is far from clear how it is possible to reach the suggested 'right' answer. Some people who are heavily involved in the quiz industry in the UK have complained about the standard and ambiguity of the questions used on the programme. Questions in some games, as an example, Quizmania's tower games are usually very easy and open ended, often with scores of possible answers, but only a handful of which win prizes. This means that the competition becomes less of a quiz and more like a game of chance. A Culture, Media and Sports select committee report suggested that the odds of a viewer getting through to the studio is up to 8,500 to one and for an ITV Play show, 400 to one.
Some estimates suggest that phone-in quizzes generate around £50 million a year for broadcasters, making them a crucial source of income at a time of increasing pressure on advertising revenue.
The Mail on Sunday stated in an article that 15% of complaints made to Ofcom are from participation TV shows. Gordon Brown has criticised the participation TV shows and channels for exploiting the poor.
Ofcom proposed to class participation TV channels in the same way as teleshopping channels. This would give consumers more protection against fraudulent channels. According to an article in The Times, Ofcom was expected to receive an estimated 800 complaints about quiz channels in 2007, an increase from 450 in 2005.
On November 28, 2006, an all-party Culture, Media and Sport select committee held a hearing into the concerns regarding the way that quiz channels operate. The broadcasting minister, Shaun Woodward said that no action would be taken on any of the quiz channel operators until the parties had reported their findings. The Gambling commission said they would look into British Sky Broadcasting's concerns over quiz channels that quiz channels are a form of gambling and should be regulated. Nick Rust from BSkyB, said to the committee that quiz channels should be considered gambling. The committee heard evidence from Ofcom, the Citizens Advice Bureau, television executives and individuals.
Points raised included the price of calls, whether the player got through or not. Jeff Henry, a director of ITV consumer said that one in four hundred players have a chance in getting through to The Mint programme. Jeff Henry also stated that by putting up details that there is a one in four hundred chance of winning, then "it would be out of date and we would be accused of misleading you." Points also raised were the answers given for questions set, including an example from ITV Play programme Quizmania, where the obscure answers Rawlplugs and balaclava were given for a question on the contents of a woman's handbag, and examples of where callers were cut off from calling Quiz Call for forty minutes. The commission was also told that viewers are encouraged to call in but are not told that they only have a 0.5% chance of getting through.
Shari Vahl, from BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme told the committee that one woman had spent £1,500 on calls and suggested that programmes get 200 calls a minute, which makes getting through to the studio a slim chance. However, producers and operators of quiz shows and channels have stated that only a small minority of people have a problem with being addicted to calling shows and channels.
On January 25, 2007, the select committee released its report into the participation television channel industry. The committee said that the channels should be classed as gambling and not a game of skill.
The report made a few recommendations as to how the industry should be regulated. These include more transparency to viewers on the odds of getting through to the studio, including a recommendation of the odds of getting through being shown through an on-screen graphic. The report also said that questions should be verified by a third party before they can be broadcast.
BIG Game TV! was the subject of a City of London Police investigation brought by the BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours in May 2006 over allegations that receptionists were told to ignore all incoming calls for long periods of time while 150-200 calls per minute were clocked up at 75p a time. NTL subsequently removed the channel from their channel line-up on the 7th of June.
The City of London Police said there would be no charges brought against the channel, following its investigation.
British Sky Broadcasting made an attempt to counter the problems somewhat by moving the EPG numbers of the channels on its Sky Digital service to the 840's section under the heading of "Gaming and Dating". Many of the quiz channels got around this by broadcasting on other channels, notably the general entertainment channels.
Although British Sky Broadcasting has had quiz programming on its Sky branded channels before (for example, Sky Quiz Live on Sky One Mix), British Sky Broadcasting has avoided placing quiz programming on any of its branded channels, stating that such a move would damage the reputation of the company.
By law, only charities and Camelot are allowed to run lotteries. Any prize competitions in newspapers, magazines and television shows have to be "games of skill". In an effort to crack down on unofficial lotteries the Government is insisting that television phone-in quizzes become harder since it claims they are otherwise games of chance.
In August 2006, the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom started a consultation regarding the way that participation television operate. The consultation is designed to clear up the confusion between prize competitions, free draws and lotteries, ahead of the Gambling Act 2005, which came into force in September 2007. If the consultation shows that participation TV shows and channels operate more like lotteries rather than games of skill, they could be required by law to give 20% of their revenue to charity.
Under the new Gambling Act, the Gambling Commission will have the power to prosecute broadcasters if it believes they are persistently flouting the law by running illegal lotteries. "There are already rules, but what the Gambling Act does is introduce a better definition so that the rules are enforceable", said a spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. "At the moment the rules are not clear enough to prevent these kinds of quizzes where the questions are ridiculously easy in order to maximise the number of entrants".
Broadcasters are contesting the proposals, stating that the channels are not a lottery because they have a free web entry system in place on their websites, by law, which allow any individual to enter a competition for free.
The United Kingdom premium phone regulator, ICSTIS has reported an increase in complaints about quiz shows and channels. A BBC News article stated that "nearly 10% of all enquiries about premium rate services received by ICSTIS between September and November last year were specifically regarding television contests".
On October 10, 2006, ICSTIS announced that it would be investigating participation television channels after complaints it received from the public into concerns that players are paying too much to enter the quizzes by phone. ICSTIS also said that it wanted callers to know how much each call would cost them and the odds of winning any prize. ICSTIS raised concern that players were unaware that they would be charged for each call regardless of whether the player got through to the studio or not.
On March 9, 2007 in the wake of a number of technical problems and controversies over premium rate phone-ins on television shows and quiz channels, ICSTIS warned television companies that any illegal operating would be investigated by the police. ICSTIS also announced measures to bring in licensing to restore public confidence in competitions.
Some people who are heavily involved in the quiz industry in the UK have complained about the standard and ambiguity of the questions used on the programme. Questions in the tower games (see above) are usually very easy and open ended, often with scores of possible answers, but only a handful of which win prizes. This means that the competition becomes less of a quiz and more like a game of chance. In a report for the Mail on Sunday, ITV admitted that they made money from customers who call in who do not get through to the studio. ITV also says that it plans to make £20million in profit from ITV Play. Organisations such as the Gambling Commission have expressed concerns that Quizmania and similar programmes encourage gambling. HM Treasury are currently examining the regulations surrounding phone-in quiz shows. Phone-in game shows are scrutinised by Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator and ICSTIS, who regulate premium rate phone numbers in the UK; both organisations have received complaints from viewers about phone-in game shows.
An article on the BBC website noted that "ICSTIS - the organisation that regulates premium rate telephone services in the UK - had acknowledged that the growth in the number of puzzle channels has been "matched by an increase in complaints about them".
According to this article, "nearly 10% of all enquiries about premium rate services received by Icstis between September and November last year were specifically regarding television contests".
In a Sunday Times article published on September 24, Quiz Call admitted that it had taken calls at 75p a call without any chance of the callers getting through for a chance to win and Quiz Call apologised for using its own staff members to pose as winners. Channel 4 have since sold off Quiz Call due to increasing levels of bad reputation from the channel.
In the Culture, Media and Sport committee held on November 28, 2006 representatives from Quiz Call admitted that one instance of people being put on hold did occur and that the producer responsible no longer works for Ostrich Media.
Both ITV and Ostrich Media (who operate Quiz Call) have started limiting the number of phone calls a participant can make to their shows in a day. ITV only allows a participant 100 entries a day whereas when they first started this figure was 150 a day. Ostrich Media has a limit of 140 entries. The measures were put in place to safeguard players from becoming gambling addicts.
The Mail on Sunday reported that the major broadcasters in the United Kingdom are planning to set up a telephone service called Call Care which will offer support for players and help them with inquiries regarding participation TV shows and channels.
Richard & Judy on Channel 4 were accused of encouraging viewers to enter the 'You Say We Pay' segment after the winner had been picked. The competition was indefinitely suspended soon afterwards and was later cancelled permanently. Channel 4 Racing was also affected after a software glitch allowed callers to enter a competition even though the competition had ended.
ITV suspended all programmes involving premium rate phone-ins on 5 March 2007, including its quiz channel ITV Play. This was to allow independent auditor Deloitte to conduct a review of the fairness of revenue-generating phone-ins in programmes carried by ITV including Dancing on Ice and The X Factor. ITV Play was taken off the air during the review, but for a few days it ran a limited after midnight service for only four hours before on March 13, ITV announced that ITV Play had been permanently closed down.
Five followed suit when they were alleged to have displayed the name of a fictional winner on BrainTeaser after they failed to find a genuine winner. Five was later fined £300,000 by Ofcom - the highest ever amount from the broadcasting watchdog.
The BBC was also affected by these scandals. Saturday Kitchen on BBC One were accused of encouraging viewers to phone in to a pre-recorded programme. On 14 March 2007 the BBC children's programme Blue Peter was revealed to have used a girl who was visiting the studio to pose as a caller live on the show. The BBC stated that a technical error prevented 14,000 callers from getting a chance to win in the competition. Konnie Huq apologised over the phone-in problem on the March 14 airing of the show.
On 20 March 2007 it was revealed that 11,500 votes for the Dancing on Ice final three days earlier on ITV were lost as they were not delivered to Vodafone until the following Monday morning. On 23 April 2007, a BBC Panorama investigation disclosed that callers to GMTV's phone-in competitions may have been defrauded out of millions of pounds, because the telephone system operator, Opera Interactive Technology, had determined the winners before the phone lines had closed. GMTV responded by suspending the phone-in quizzes, but claimed that "it was confident it had not breached regulators' codes". Opera Interactive also denied any wrongdoing.
The BBC suspended all phone-in competitions indefinitely on 18 July 2007, after further revelations about faked competition winners, including incidents during the charity broadcasts Comic Relief and Children in Need.
British tabloid newspapers reported on 26 July 2007 that ITV's broadcast of the 2005 British Comedy Awards had also been conning viewers. According to a report in The Sun, viewers telephoned a premium-rate number to vote for the People's Choice Award during what was claimed to be a live broadcast; yet, at 22:30, the show went to a news broadcast, so that when the show returned, viewers thought it was still live, and thus still phoned the number, when the last half-hour was in fact a recording as the vote had already finished, rendering the call-in votes given during the recording pointless and a misuse of the callers' money.
100 Winners is a live interactive game show on GSN, officially hosted by Jessica York. Jeff Thisted and Shandi Finnessey served as substitute hosts. Featured during the two-hour program were short interactive games from which the viewers could win prizes. The show generally aired from 12:00 midnight – 2:00 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday night (technically early Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday morning in the Eastern Time Zone). All scheduled airings of 100 Winners were replaced with episodes of quiznation.Big Game TV
Big Game TV (stylised as BIG Game TV!) was a live phone-in quiz channel that was broadcast via Sky Broadcasting in 2005. It released a spin-off, The Hallmark Channel Quiz on 6 March 2006, which was shown on The Hallmark Channel. The show used only three of the presenters.
Big Game TV Productions added The Daily Quiz! 13 March 2006. This show aired on ITV Play and on Men & Motors seven days a week and featured a selection of Big Game TV's presenters. ITV ended their involvement with Big Game TV due to fraud allegations in May 2006.History of Freeview UK
Freeview is the name for the collection of free-to-air services on the Digital Terrestrial Television platform in the United Kingdom. The service was launched at 5 am on 30 October 2002 and is jointly operated by its five equal shareholders – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB and transmitter operator Arqiva. This article documents the history of the Freeview service, from its inception up to the present.IBuy
iBuy was a British satellite-based home shopping channel.
Created & launched on 18 April 2005, by Andy Sheldon, who was one of George Spitaliotis's senior management figures at Auction World.tv and also created their sister channel Chase-It.tv.
iBuy launched from the ex-AuctionWorld studio at Teddington Studios, Broom Road, Teddington. It was later relocated in early 2006, to Studio 1, Unit 1A, Hogarth Business Park, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London. iBuy operates as a falling price auction channel, similar to that of the 'original' auction shopping channel idea used by bid tv, price-drop tv, and airs between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, 7 days a week on Sky. Towards the end of 2006, was also broadcast between 9:00 AM-12:00 PM on Freeview, as part of Five US.
iBuy2 broadcast 7 days a week on Sky 632, also broadcasting live falling price auctions from a separate studio, which was the home of the defunct HSN owned quiz channel Quiz TV. iBuy2 ended on 18 February 2007, with the channel now only showing pre-recorded iBuy Choice.
iBuy Unique was broadcast every day during iBuy's off-air hours, on Sky 631 from 12:00 PM midnight to 9:00 AM and on Sky 632 from 12:00 PM midnight to 3:00 PM, and then from 6:00 PM onwards. iBuy Unique operated on the similar "original" channel idea of the HSN financed Bid2Win where the 'Lowest Unique Bid' auction, where bidders are invited to place a bid by phone, by SMS text message or online at www.ibuyunique.tv. However, this is an auction with a difference, as only one person can win. For example, if two bids are placed, at 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM, 1:00 PM is the currently the lowest unique bid, however if someone else comes in with a bid of 1:00 PM, 1:00 PM is no longer a valid bid, and therefore 2:00 PM is now the lowest unique bid.
On iBuy, viewers are invited to bid in 'Freefall' auctions by picking up their landline phone or mobile phone and dialling the number on screen, or logging onto the iBuy website at www.ibuy.tv and bidding online. The price of the item up for auction falls until all the quantity is sold, and at the end of the auction (when the quantity is sold out,) everyone pays the lowest price.
iBuy was also the subject of the BBC Three Welcome To My World documentary "Porno, Preachers and Peadlers" alongside Television X, Girl Fever and Relevation TV.ITV4
ITV4 is a British free-to-air television station which was launched on 1 November 2005. It is owned by ITV Digital Channels, a division of ITV plc, and is part of the ITV network. The channel has a male-orientated line-up, including sport, police shows and US comedies and dramas, as well as classic ITV action series of the 1960s and 1970s.Jamie Theakston
Jamie Theakston (born 21 December 1971) is an English television presenter, producer, and actor. He hosted Top of the Pops, co-hosts the national breakfast show with Amanda Holden on Heart and also narrated the BBC documentary series Traffic Cops and Motorway Cops. He has also hosted several television programmes for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.Jessica Wahls
Jessica Martina Wahls (born 2 February 1977 in Bad Nauheim, Hesse), also known under her nickname Jess, is a German pop singer, songwriter and television host, who rose to fame as one of the founding members of the successful all-female pop band No Angels, the "biggest-selling German girlband to date," according to the German media.Leonie Saint
Leonie Saint (born 23 April 1986), also known with the stage names Leonie Luder or simply Leonie (legal name Simone Peschkes), is a German actress, TV-presenter and former pornographic actress.Midnight Money Madness
Midnight Money Madness was an interactive game show on TBS, hosted by Jerilee Bonner, Danny Seckel and Craig J. Jackson. Featured in the two-hour program were interactive games where the viewers can win cash prizes. The show aired around 12 a.m. - 2 a.m, in two separate feeds (Eastern and Pacific) Monday through Thursday (technically early Tuesday through Friday morning).Neveneffecten (cabaret)
Neveneffecten is a Flemish cabaret quartet formed by Jonas Geirnaert, Lieven Scheire, Koen De Poorter and Jelle De Beule.Ostrich Media
Ostrich Media is a United Kingdom (UK) company, created in 2005 as a wholly owned subsidiary of 4Ventures Limited (the commercial subsidiary of the public-service commercial broadcaster Channel 4 Television Corporation).The company is currently part of Wireless Group and has run Brain Box for both UTV and South African channel, E-TV. It was also the owner of QuizCall, the UK's first dedicated quiz television channel.PlayMania
PlayMania was a live interactive game show on GSN, hosted by Mel Peachey, Shandi Finnessey, Jessica York, Angelle Tymon, and Jeff Thisted. The two-hour program featured interactive games that the viewers could play to win cash prizes. On February 20, 2007, the show was replaced with two separate programs, quiznation and 100 Winners which were collectively known as the PlayMania Block.Quiz Call
Quiz Call is a late night/early morning phone-in quiz TV show, produced by Ostrich Media (owned by iTouch) for Five, Five US and Five Life.Quiznation
Quiznation may refer to:
Quiznation (UK game show) (2003–2007), a British quiz channel owned and operated by Optimistic Entertainment
quiznation (U.S. game show) (2007), a live interactive game show on GSNQuiznation (British game show)
Quiznation was a television program on the British quiz channel by the same name that was owned and operated by Optimistic Entertainment. In its last year, it featured hours of gaming each day. Quiznation aired all week on Fortune Fever from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m featuring constant tower games. On 31 May 2007, Quiznation aired its last episode.Take the Cake
Take the Cake was a live, interactive game show on BET. The one-hour program featured interactive games where the viewers could win cash prizes. The show aired from 12 midnight - 1 a.m. Eastern every Monday night through Friday night. The program was produced by Endemol, who produced Midnight Money Madness for TBS in 2006.The show aired its finale on November 2, airing a total of 85 live shows.
The jocular phrase "take the cake" means "win the prize".The Daily Quiz!
The Daily Quiz! was a live, phone-in quiz channel, previously a TV programme, which was showing on ITV Play (Freeview channel 35) and also on Men & Motors (Sky Digital channel 131) from 3pm-6pm seven days a week. Two presenters were in the studio simultaneously and took it in turns to answer calls, the second presenter waits by the jackpot board or front desk and is brought in every so often to chat. The Daily Quiz! had a newspaper/gossip theme running throughout the show and at regular intervals, the presenters sat at their desk, related celebrity news stories from the day's papers and discussed them in a light-hearted manner. Viewers could win up to £5000 in the jackpot game.
The Daily Quiz! was part of the ITV Play stable (along with The Mint and Quizmania) and started broadcasting on this channel on 19 April 2006.
One of The Daily Quiz!'s main presenters was Kat Shoob, who is also a presenter on ITV Play's flagship programme, The Mint.
The show was produced by the same production team as Big Game TV.
On 21 April 2006 weather forecaster Michael Fish appeared on The Daily Quiz!, and was the only celebrity guest ever featured on the show.
On 19 May 2006, officers from the Fraud Squad raided the offices of Big Game TV, makers of The Daily Quiz!, after a BBC Radio 4 investigation for the You and Yours programme found that receptionists were told to ignore all incoming calls for long periods of time while 150-200 calls per minute were clocked up at 75p a time. The charges were later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.Due to this raid, the show was removed from the schedules of ITV Play and Men & Motors]].
The Daily Quiz! returned as a channel on 16 April 2007, on Big Game TV's channel (Sky channel 849) and broadcasts from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. On 25 April, just nine days after returning, it was announced that "The Daily Quiz is taking a break from broadcasting." This message was then changed to "The Daily Quiz is no longer broadcasting."