ITV are the latest broadcaster to announce that they’ve been running competitions where entrants have had no chance of winning. The shows affected are Soapstar Superstar 2007; Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway 2005 and 2006; and Ant and Dec’s Gameshow Marathon 2005. All SMS text and red button voting on ITV programmes have been suspended and the channel have announced a £7.8m reimbursement package. Details of the announcement, and information about how you can claim a refund, can be found at ITV.com.
A more indepth analysis of the findings from Deloitte can be found at The Guardian. They report that:
“In the 2006 series of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, one of the show’s researchers picked someone they knew to win the opportunity to ride the Jiggy Bank”.
“Winners were selected by who would be good on camera and make the most entertaining programme”.
“Viewers who lived outside of the area where Jiggy Bank was going to be held in the next show could enter but did not have any chance of selection to win”
“Grab the Ads and Win the Ads – had similar issues of editorial and geographical discretion in picking winners”
According to Sky.com “8.57 million viewers are now eligible for a refund and ITV has set aside £7.8m to reimburse those affected”.
The findings are yet another blow to premium rate phone in competitions, as well as the integrity of TV led surveys, votes and prize draws.