Television's New Joy of Text
The number of TV shows that allow audiences to participate through text messaging has skyrocketed as programmers seek out new revenue sources and try to encourage people to watch shows when they are aired, rather than on tape or video on demand, reports the WSJ.
... "The U.S. has been slow in adopting text voting because programmers have to deal with several time zones and several different wireless network technologies, says Mr. Andrade. In most countries, there is only one time zone and one dominant wireless network technology.
... Revenue from text messaging is not insignificant. Last summer, viewers sent over 500,000 text-message votes within two days during the reality show "Big Brother," which charged 49 cents a pop. In the spring season, NBC's game show "Deal or No Deal" earned enough money from premium text-messaging votes to cover the more than $1 million sweepstakes prize money. Viewers of the show cast a total of 57 million votes, both online and via text message.
... In the U.K., revenue from phone and text-messaging services for TV programs came to about $457 million in 2005, compared with almost zero in 2000, according to an industry-funded regulatory body that tracks premium telecom services in that country.