PhonepayPlus clarifies rules on participation TV following successful lobbying from AIME

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Steps taken toward the re-introduction of SMS voting for interactive TV shows in the UK.

The UK's  Association of Interactive Media and Entertainment (AIME) has announced.... following a successful period of lobbying and co-operation with PhonepayPlus, the industry regulator is to ease restrictions on interactive TV voting.  Details have been released as a supplementary notice to industry and outline three significant changes:

1. Votes or entries which are received outside the voting window – e.g. when lines are open – do not have to be counted or refunded provided that this risk is clearly communicated to consumers, that consumers are informed their entry is invalid but they will still be charged, and that there are no technical difficulties (either from the network or provider) which might have caused votes or entries to be delivered late.

2. Phone lines may remain open when programmes are repeated, provided that the voting/entry window for PRS is still open during the repeat.

3. Where multiple methods of voting/entry exist for the same Broadcast event, then if some of those methods will have shorter voting/entry windows than others this must be clear to consumers in each call to action.

The absence of popular SMS voting has been a regular item on the AIME Interactive Broadcast Forum agenda and since October 2009 the group has focused on resolving the issues to permit the return of this popular interactive channel.

A significant barrier was the restrictive regulatory requirements regarding votes placed outside defined voting windows and the associated demands for refunds to customers who were disregarding announcements and on screen instructions.

The actual timing of SMS re-introduction for TV voting may vary as individual Broadcasters will need to satisfy themselves that the dynamics of their particular programme formats are properly considered before offering the facility to their viewers.

Toby Padgham, general secretary of AIME said:

“AIME is very satisfied with this outcome and particularly with the co-operation offered by PhonepayPlus which clearly demonstrates the benefits of a co-operative approach to industry regulation. We believe customers will welcome the opportunity to enjoy convenient SMS interaction for TV voting to the benefit of all concerned.”  

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