BBC Suspend Offline & Online Competitions!

Posted on: July 18th, 2007 by Jason 8 Comments

The BBC have announced that they are suspending all competitions after it was discovered that there have been more irregularities with their phone-in promotions. Irregularities were found with the following competitions: BBC One’s Sports Relief in July 2006, Comic Relief in March 2007, Children In Need on BBC Scotland in November 2005, The Liz Kershaw Show on BBC 6 Music and CBBC programme TMi. According to the report at The BBC “All phone-related competitions on BBC TV and radio will cease from midnight on Wednesday, while interactive and online competitions will be taken down as soon as possible”. Whilst it’s not a surprise that interactive competitions are being suspended, it is a surprise that online competitions are also being taken down.

It’s unclear if all The BBC sites, including magazines and radio stations, will be affected by the suspension, but we did spot this week that their Newsround site hadn’t updated their online competitions when usually there are 4 to 6 regular online prize draws. That suggests that the decision to suspend competitions perhaps isn’t one that was just made today!

Stopping online competitions isn’t new for The BBC. Many years ago there were numerous online competitions run across The BBC local radio websites, but these slowly disappeared along with competitions running in popular sections like BBC Film, Top of the Pops, and their Lifestyle areas. Only this year has there been an increase in online BBC competitions, mainly associated with the more commercial part of the business, like magazines BBC Good Homes and BBC Good Food as well as The BBC Shop.

The BBC’s decisions mirrors that of GMTV, who themselves are under fire regarding phone in competitions and who have also suspended their online competitions. Based on the report it could well be that they’ll be no BBC competitions online, via the TV or on the radio – and the bad news for compers is that there’s no indication of if or when that suspension will be lifted.

19th July Edit

All competitions have closed early. As we understand things winners will be drawn from entries received. The suspension has also meant that popular radio competitions like Car Park Catchphrase on the Chris Moyles Radio 1 show have also been forced to stop.

Useful Links
BBC Related Competitions on Loquax
BBC Forum Discussion on Phone Comps
Loquax Forum Discussion

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    a sad day for compers but if it helps clean up the compscene will be good in the end

  • bonfire

    There have been cases, real and imagined, of prize fixing on various sites so a clean-up would be a good thing.
    The problem is what if they start thinking it’s not worth the possible hassle and stop running comps.
    Premium rate phone lines blurred the lines between free to enter comps and essentially gambling. The recent U turn on the Super Casino makes me think if Gordon Brown decides to sharpen up the lines it’ll be much harder to run many comps.

  • Polarbear

    The trouble is, just like their previous fine (if they get fined for this offence too) is that who will pay the fine?- the Licence Payers thats who, so the BBC actually lose nothing, now if they fined the directors personally or the staff responsible its much less likely that any further offences will be commited (but almost certainly any offences already commited won’t come to light either for fear of receiving a “personal fine” rather than a company one.

    There is too much money to be made out of these “phone in scams” and personally i think they should be either banned altogether or have a restricted fixed charge of say 10p/20p whatever the current single minimum call fee is at the moment? 50p, £1, £1.50, £2 fees etc should all be abolished. I dont mind 25p texts but the rest are just profitmaking scams IMHO.

  • kevinwj

    Would this be a good time to ask the Sun about Mr / Mrs O’Donaghue?

  • As one of my first prizes was a comedy DVD from the BBC website this is sad news that the website comps have been abolished. That said I doubt I will be missing any of the expensive phone in comps.

  • SandraDJ

    I’m just listening to Stuart Maconie on Radio 2. Six Degrees of Separation was a fun competition, and the prize of book, cd and dvd made it more interesting. It’s a shame that they’ve stopped comps like this, which I’m sure are genuine. Let’s hope the BBC gets its house in order soon.

  • chrissieburley

    It’s a shame that all radio comps have been tarred with the same brush. Jonathon Ross’s Radio 2 prog on Saturday still had a phone-in but without the ‘fun’ element of a quiz between two contestants. By all means stop the rip-off phone-ins where you just leave your details after paying £1 or £1.50 to do so. I know a person who won £8000 on Richard and Judy’s ( Channel 4 TV) phone-in comp when they correctly guessed the pictures she described to them. Now that was a genuine win!
    As Polarbear says, it will be the licence paying viewers who will ultimately pay the fine.
    Let’s hope the rotten apples will be cleared out and a new era of comping begins! Breath holding begins now!

  • RonManager

    To be honest I didn’t miss the BBC online comps at all when they fizzled out and being mass-catchment websites the odds of winning on the high-profile sites like top gear always seemed to be minuscule.

    I remember mutterings about this a few years ago though when there were postings on Loquax alleging that some local BBC websites (e.g. Somerset) only picked local winners for their competitions despite their competitions being on full display on websites. And this no doubt still goes on with other local based non-BBC competitions where promoters have failed to add conditions restricting entry to ‘locals’ if it matters so much to them. So this is not by any means a new issue, we’ve ‘known’ about it for years, it’s just that somewhere a cog has turned to bring the whole situation to the fore. Not a bad thing.