C4 to scale back on premium-rate quizzes…

Channel 4 is to dramatically scale back its use of premium price phone
competitions following the debacle over its You Say, We Pay quiz on
Richard & Judy.

The revelation comes after chief executive Andy Duncan was yesterday
quizzed by MPs at Westmin…

Channel 4 is to dramatically scale back its use of premium price phone competitions following the debacle over its You Say, We Pay quiz on Richard & Judy.

The revelation comes after chief executive Andy Duncan was yesterday quizzed by MPs at Westminster.

He admitted phone voting and quizzes would provide £8m or £9m in revenue this year.

Revenues raised were “modest” when set against the channel’s £1bn total revenues, he said.

It also follows yesterday’s suspension of C4’s phone-in competitions in its horse racing coverage of Cheltenham week following a “technical glitch”.

Duncan was giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee alongside ITV executive chairman Michael Grade and Five chief executive Jane Lightning, who revealed “telephony across the whole range” would deliver £8m in revenue this year. They pledged to restore public trust in phone-in services.

Channel 4 has axed the quiz and is unlikely to replace it. An insider says it will not put such quiz formats into programmes “for the sake of it”. However, voting on Big Brother and a premium rate competition on game show Deal or No Deal will continue.

You Say, We Pay was dropped immediately after accusations were made that viewers were urged to call the competition hotline, managed by Eckoh, at £1 a time, late last month.

Grade, giving evidence on public service media content, also told MPs that there would be no more children’s programming on terrestrial channel ITV1 in the “medium to long term”.

• Following the meeting, ITV also confirmed it would replace participation TV channel Play with a timeshift version of ITV2.

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