Channel 4 dumps Quiz Call
As reported in yesterday's Broadcast magazine, Channel 4 is quickly distancing itself from the highly controversial Quiz TV market.
In the last month, following investigations in newspapers such as The Times and the Glasgow Sunday Mail, the regulators Ofcom and ICSTIS have started looking into complaints that the channels are simply a form of TV lottery, rather than a game of skill.
A Channel 4 spokesperson confirmed that the channel is in advanced talks with a third party to dispose of Ostrich Media Limited, a subsidiary of Channel 4 that produces Quiz Call, its transactional TV channel.
The spokesperson told UK Free TV, "In the 14 months since Quiz Call launched the transactional TV market has become increasingly competitive, and Channel 4 no longer believes that the opportunity exists for it to make significant profits from call TV in the UK. The international market for call TV is growing and we believe the business has a better chance of expanding in the hands of a third party with experience of operating outside the UK. We are exploring a number of strategic uses for the Freeview slot currently occupied by Quiz Call and have therefore taken the decision to sell the business."
One complaint has been that the new, highly popular movie channel Film4 will not be available after switchover for people who currently cannot receive Freeview, as the channel is not carried on one of the public service multiplexes.
With the removal of Quiz Call from Freeview, it would seem to make sense to move the Film4 channel to multiplex 2, which will increase the number of homes that can watch it (slightly now, hugely in the coming years). I would expect the vacated slot to be used for a More4+1 service, or perhaps a Film4+1 service.
See also: Do we need quiz channels?
Update, 3 November 2006: Channel 4 announced today that QuizCall will be removed from Freeview on November 15th, and will be replaced in the short term by Film4+1. In the longer term they will be launching a new channel.
What sort of new channel would you like to see from Channel 4?