Channel 4 axes lucrative phone-ins

Channel 4 has announced plans to axe all profit-making phone-in competitions, following the scandal surrounding the Richard and Judy competition You Say We Pay.

The broadcaster could have to pay out £2.2 million to viewers, following the discovery that audiences had been misled on the Richard and Judy quiz since 2004.

Channel 4 originally offered to refund callers hit by the You Say We Pay fiasco, on Richard and Judy’s teatime show, from June 2006 to February 2007.

Today it said that £2.2 million had been generated by “improperly entered calls” from September 2004 to February 2007.

Channel 4 admitted that in this period 2.9 million calls to the competition had no chance of winning.

Under the new policy, it has closed down all its premium rate telephone services, with the exception of Deal Or No Deal. It will donate its share of future profits from the Deal Or No Deal competition to charity.

In today’s statement, the broadcaster said its internal report also found that early entrants to the Deal Or No Deal competition had a greater chance of being shortlisted than later entrants.

It said it would continue using phone voting in Big Brother but would only charge enough to cover the call.

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