Reality TV shows have become a fact of life. If you watch any TV, you will have at least one favorite reality show. They range from man versus man (or woman) in physical contests, to skill contests, to job skills to weight loss. The current crop of reality shows – including the high-dollar game shows that are put on during prime-time, such as like Deal or No Deal, 1 vs. 100, Set for Life and the singing shows – have a very similar theme. How do we as a network get you the viewer to pay for our show so that we get to keep all the advertising dollars?I first began to wonder about these shows when reading the play at home games that many of them have, such as Deal or No Deal where you can text in a guess on your cell phone for a fee of 99 cents and have a chance at the lottery drawing at the end of the show. I may not be the brightest light in the lamp but if they have 50,000 people or more text in this has got to be a money maker. The text underlying company just made $50,000 in less than an hour. The show has to be sharing in this profit and 50,000 participants is probably pretty low.
This type of game has the appeal of the lottery. When taken to the next level those numbers become great for marketing the very products to these same people. So these people who text the show become a valuable mailing list for the company to sell and use.
Shows like Top Chef and Top Design, may not have the same following but the people who text into these shows are ripe to be marketed to by these companies. The demographics are very precise.
There is even a game show, called Playmania, and the only way to get on the show is to send a text message and wait for them to select you so you can be on the show. Now the rules to this show say that you can only enter 10 times during one show and each time it costs 99 cents plus your regular text charges. I added up the total winnings that night. It was less than $10,000 on the night that I watched. I watched the whole show one night and then I went looking for ratings numbers the next day. With the help of a local friend in advertising, she works for a local TV station; I found out that there were more than 5 million viewers for this show. The total take for this show that night was probably close to 1 million dollars. Not to mention the money paid by the advertisers.
With the heavy legislation recently put on online gambling and especially online poker have the television executives come up with a way to have a lottery. It seems that as long as it can be taxed and controlled there are no real complaints. Is this another way for politicians to be in our pockets. This show is open and people are putting up money and winning money. But what about the ones who don’t get selected shouldn’t’t they get their money back? Or since it can be taxed from the advertiser, from the producers, from the station and from the winner is this an OK form of gambling?