Feeds

Ofcom clears way for iPhone apps for TV voting

Numbers just too much for X Factor fans

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Ofcom has cleared the way for iPhone voting applications for TV.

Voting through specially-formatted text messages, or calls to sequential numbers, could soon be a thing of the past as the regulator has finally clarified the rules on applications that allow one to vote, and pay, though an application installed on the phone.

Text voting is an important revenue stream for some of the most popular TV shows today, and that's despite the complexity of the voting process that's crying out for simplification with an app running on the phone. But the complexity of the rules, which were drafted before mobile applications took off, has discouraged any development in that direction.

Basically Ofcom has said that voting apps are OK, as long as viewers are warned about the cost. The app can't add features either; everything must be possible without the app to avoid it turning into an advert for a specific platform, something Nokia will have to take on board when it considers adding voting to its (Symbian-only) X Factor application.

But in-app voting is a blindingly obvious development, which would have arrived years ago if the premium-rate industry wasn't still reeling from the scandals of 2007. Back then it emerged that votes submitted through different channels were being treated differently, sometimes even ignored completely, not to mention the times that viewers were invited to vote during repeated shows. Unsurprisingly Ofcom is adamant that votes submitted through mobile applications are treated identically to any other.

Technically the process is trivial - all the popular platforms (including the iPhone) can send an SMS from within an application, allowing the developer to present pictures of, say, The X Factor finalists and inviting viewers to tap on the face they love the most. A warning might pop up, but that's a minor thing compared to the complexity of sending a specially-formatted text message, or sending a message to a finalist-specific number - something that's beyond a surprising number of viewers*.

The development is a small one, but the impact will be great, and it will be interesting to see what difference it makes to next year's X Factor. ®

* Most memorable was the text message submitted to Big Brother when O2 was sponsor, which threw the automated system for some reason: "I wnt to keep in the girl with the big tits" - clearly the work of someone who would benefit from a tap-to-vote application.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit
USB-serial imitators whacked by driver update
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.