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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ITV & Premium Rate Calling

The strategist in me thinks that Michael Grade has made an excellent decision in halting premium rate lines, subject to an independent audit. ITV now appear in the public eyes (well at least mine) to be taking the high ground, especially when compared to the publicly funded and owned Channel 4.

The moralist in me thinks that TV Call Ins are just another way of milking money from people who can ill afford it.

The free marketeer thinks that it is personal choice.

The cynic in me thinks ITV will have been up to some really shady practices in the past to take this extreme step.

The irony is that if Michael Grade cleans up ITV and gets rid of some of the more ridiculous programming such as ITV Play, makes its back catalogue available on multi-channel and the internet and makes a return to investing in quality light entertainment shows then the BSkyB stake might work out to be a brilliant investment in the long run.

The scale and growth of the Premium Rate industry is amazing - this from the ICSTIS annual budget:
For years the UK premium rate sector was defined by a small range of service
categories. It had a fairly steady turnover of £200m in 2000 and £400m in 2001.
Since then the market for services paid for by premium rate charging has grown
dramatically to roughly four times the size. The UK public spend £1.6billion – the
equivalent of about £35 per year by every adult in the country – on an ever widening range of services and goods across every communications platform.