ITV Play has been taken off the air as the broadcaster suspended premium interactive services. ITV has appointed Deloitte to conduct an audit of all of the interactive services after the premium rate phone line regulator launched an inquiry into Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. It is alleged that the programme encouraged viewers to contact the show even after the winner was selected.
There is growing concern about misleading practices within the participation TV sector with the BBC and Channel 4 both facing probes over the use of premium rate lines. Programmes including BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen, ITV1’s The X Factor and Channel 4’s Richard and Judy are all under investigation.
ITV Play is one of 16 dedicated channels in the UK market that are based around viewer participation. Many others broadcast interactive competitions out of hours, or within live shows, as broadcasters look to compensate for falling advertising revenues. Elements of ITV Play are broadcast overnight on flagship channel ITV1.
On Tuesday morning ITV Play, which is available on both Freeview and Sky Digital, was broadcasting a still caption stating that it hoped to return soon.