Channel 4 in talks to sell Quiz Call unit

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Channel 4 is in advanced talks aimed at selling Ostrich Media, the wholly owned subsidiary that produces Quiz Call, ahead of an expected probe into participation TV by media regulator Ofcom, and a Gambling Commission investigation which could see TV quiz channels treated as lotteries.

Lovelace Consulting understands that Channel 4 is discussing a sale of Ostrich Media to a third party that can develop the Quiz Call format internationally. Channel 4 is looking to sell the channel having concluded that the TV quiz market is becoming increasingly competitive.

The sale of Quiz Call will not include its presence on Freeview, which Channel 4 could use to develop new channels.

TV quiz channels are currently considered as editorial by Ofcom, but that classification could be changed to teleshopping or advertising. If the Gambling Commission treats TV quiz channels as lotteries rather than competitions they would be forced to hand over 20% of their profits to charities.

Quiz Call launched last year with the aim of becoming "the most dynamic, positive, talked-about and successful Call TV operation in the UK". A Sunday Times investigation last month claimed Quiz Call was blocking callers from taking part for up to 40 minutes, prompting Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster to accuse Channel 4 of "straightforward profiteering".

Lovelace Consulting  |  20.10.2006

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