Regulator’s strategy to rebuild confidence in TV quizzes

Icstis, the premium rate services regulator, is introducing measures that aim to give viewers a “better understanding” of their chances of getting through to quiz programmes and better information about the cost of calling.

The new rules, which will come into force in four weeks, aim to build consumer trust after interactive quiz and phone-in services were hit by series of scandals over the chances of getting through and the price of calls. It also aims to address concerns raised by MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in its report on January 25.

In a revised Statement of Expectations for Call TV Quiz Services, it has added three additional rules to current safeguards.

The chances of a viewer getting beyond the first stage must be shown on-screen in real time. A “prominent and permanently visible” stand-alone display showing the total number of entries to the service in the previous 15 minutes will now be shown on screen and must be updated every ten minutes.

The presenter or voice-over must give pricing information every ten minutes as well as call costs being shown on-screen and as part of the recorded introductory message on the phone lines themselves. Callers will also receive call cost warnings at intervals of no more than £10 in the each day or at set call intervals in any calendar day that equate to accumulations of £10 of call spend.

Icstis chief executive George Kidd says it believes that the new measure will go “a long way” to restoring consumer trust in TV quizzes.

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