ITV Play Bites Dust In Call-TV Scandal, But Lives On Online

A footnote of sorts to the call-TV scandal, for ITV at least – the commercial TV leader is now scrapping its premium phone-in quiz strand ITV Play entirely. The broadcaster is facing a £2.8 million fine after the furore which has engulfed TV quiz operators kicked off earlier this year with a BBC Panorama investigation that showed GMTV – in which ITV is a 75 percent stakeholder – encouraged viewers to enter competitions they could not win, reaping £40 million in the process. ITV canned its fully-fledged ITV Play digital TV channel and reverted the brand to a mere late-night strand on its core channels.
But, after ITV Play revenue fell from £56 million last year to £9 million this year, ITV CEO Michael Grade today said the brand was no longer a growth business and would be abandoned entirely.
ITV statement: “ITV Play’s call-TV programming will be phased out by the end of this year as negative publicity following compliance problems across the sector has seen call volumes drop to uneconomic levels.” Last week, we reported how the broadcaster is extending the brand’s online reach, however, adding new bingo and casino games powered by gambling firm PartyGaming.