Feeling lucky? Odds are squarely in your favor that you are (for now) if you're a European quiz show producer! The International Herald Tribune is reporting that European regulators are starting to take note of these quiz shows that request viewer participation via phone-in or text messaging at premium rates.
Ggiven their penchant for protecting consumers at any cost, it's something of a mystery why it's taken the EU so long to get round to regulating this 'industry', especially, as the IHT points out, as the saga s is reminiscent of the game show scandal that broke in the 1950s United States – portrayed in the film Quiz Show starting John Turturro.
However, the Euro version has a much broader impact given the drastic improvements in technology made between then and now. There are considerably more televisions in service, especially in Europe, and mobile technologies allow people to be in touch almost literally 24 hours per day.
Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have suspended a number of popular television programs while investigations continue into cases where people paid premium rates above and beyond what was advertised.
While its' easy to understand why many television broadcasters feel that interactive services will be a crucial addition to their bottom line, that doesn't mean that users should be cheated or gouged to help meet that bottom line. Between television license fees, high digital programming rates, and very high VAT rates, the last thing us consumers need is to be overcharged for anything else!
I look forward to European regulators putting in to place some standard guidelines so that people can fairly participate in their favorite quiz show without wondering whether or not they've been taken for a ride.