UK Broadcaster Five Seeks to Diversify Revenues via New Online Daily Bingo Show

--Show Produced by Interactive TV Specialist, Two Way Media

In a move that it describes as part of "a concerted effort to broaden its revenues beyond traditional TV advertising," UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, Five, has launched a daily interactive TV bingo show on its Web site. Entitled "The FreeBingo Show" and produced by interactive TV specialist, Two Way Media, the hour-long show is designed to increase awareness of and drive traffic to a suite of online gaming services operated by Five: the broadcaster launched branded bingo and casino egaming services in August, following the signing of a strategic agreement with online gaming company, PartyGaming.

"The FreeBingo Show" is hosted by Charlie McArdle and airs on weekdays at 11:00AM. While viewers can play for cash prizes, registration and the games themselves are free (note: in order to play for prizes, viewers must be 18+). Five is promoting the show both on its main TV channel and its Web site. "The business model that underpins commercial TV is changing and broadcasters must diversify their revenue streams," Five's head of digital media, Jonathan Lewis, said in a prepared statement. "Gaming activities such as Five's online bingo and casino services are just one such example of how broadcasters can broaden their revenue base beyond traditional sources."

Five says that recent changes by UK communications regulator, Ofcom, to its rules on teleshopping have opened up new opportunities for broadcasters to diversify revenues. The new rules allow terrestrial broadcasters to air up to six hours of teleshopping in a 24-hour period and stipulate that broadcast licensees "who choose to provide services comprising transactional gambling should be treated as providing teleshopping, rather than editorial output, and licensed accordingly." Last month (see the article published on, September 7th), Five became the first UK national terrestrial broadcaster to take advantage of the new rules by launching NetPlay TV's "SuperCasino" live, interactive TV gambling show in its overnight teleshopping window.