ITV Play is ramping up the cost of calls to its premium line quiz shows by a quarter in a bid to increase profits at the TV channel, which does not take any advertising.
The participation channel increased the cost of calls to shows such as The Mint and Quizmania, which are also broadcast on ITV1 and ITV2 late at night, from 60p per call to 75p per call earlier in the year, but this is now being extended to all shows on ITV Play.
It is understood that senior ITV sales staff are keen to exploit new revenue streams such as the internet and ITV Play, which is not reliant on the advertising market, unlike its ITV sister channels (MW March 16).
According to ITV’s interim results for the six months to the end of June, ITV Play brought in &£27m profit for the broadcaster and beat its &£20m annual target. Its success has been welcome in a year overshadowed by downturns in flagship channel ITV1’s advertising revenues.
A spokeswoman for ITV Play, part of the growing ITV Consumer division that also includes Friends Reunited, confirms call charges will go up. But she adds that charges remain “great value” and competitive against rivals, such as Channel 4-owned QuizCall, and “more transparent” than others in awarding prizes. She adds that prices are under constant review.
The channel’s high-profile launch brought quiz stations to the notice of anti-gambling charities and the Government. Regulator the Gambling Commission has launched a consultation, which could lead to operators having to return 20% of revenues to charity.