Cheap x factor voting

It would seem that, whether we like it or not, reality TV is here to stay. With an estimated 88% of the viewing population watching either X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing on one Saturday in November 2009, it is something that we are all either involved in or very much aware of.

Whilst many of those watching probably don't vote, it is clear that thousands do, and they are telephoning to an 09 premium rate number. For those voting on Strictly Come Dancing, they may have thought some of the cost was going to charity; namely Children in Need, but they would be wrong, as the BBC have a code of conduct that states that no monies from telephone voting can go to charity.

How much does it cost to make x-factor votes?

Both the X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing have an automatic cut-off once your vote has been registered. This means that you don't stay on the call any longer than necessary. Telephone charges can obviously vary, but as a guide, in November, 2009, the charges for voting were:
BT Landline - 15p per call
O2 - 50p per call
Orange - 50p per call
T-Mobile - 75p per call
Vodafone - 26.5p per call
3 - 75p per call
Virgin - 50p per call

This obviously represents quite a diverse range of charges, and over the lifetime of a series, can quickly add up, so is it possible to do cheap x-factor voting?

How does free X-Factor voting work?

A website called Free2call exists where users can, technically, make their x-factor votes for free. Users log on to their website, and locate the 03 number for the act they wish to vote for. The voter then has to listen to a 15 second advertisement, before the call is re-routed to the actual x-factor number, where the confirmation is given that your vote counts. The cost of the call to X-Factor is paid for by Free2call from the revenue it generates through the advertisements

What are the drawbacks of free x-factor voting?

All sounds too good to be true so far? There are a number of things you need to be aware of before you jump in;
1. There are a limited number of free votes available, dependant upon how much the advertiser has agreed to pay. On some weeks Free2call have failed to attract an advertiser and so there have been NO free x-factor votes.
2. The call is ONLY free if you have inclusive minutes or free weekend calls. If you are on a pay as you go phone the call is not free, HOWEVER, it will only be charged at a local call rate, so would still be cheaper.
3. This system can be used from anywhere in the world - so votes can come in from anywhere outside the UK

Is free x-factor voting legal?

From our research, Ofcom are happy that this voting system is perfectly legal. ITV still get their revenue, as the call is routed to their own system. Although the votes that come in may not fall into their guidelines (i.e. UK only) they cannot disregard the votes.

We have read that all the major television companies have had a recent meeting with Ofcom (the phone regulator) to see what can be done, as if the system takes off with advertisers, all reality TV programmes could be affected.

It would seem, therefore, that there IS a cheaper way to vote on reality TV shows, in fact, it’s free! The company concerned hope that the system will take off, and as well as free x-factor voting, there could soon be free voting on Strictly Come Dancing and all other reality TV programmes.

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