Big Brother producer Endemol is accusing British mobile networks of holding back the development of interactive services in the UK because their networks are not up to the job, writes John Oates.
According to creative director of interactive media for the company Chris Short, the current SMS infrastructure is hopelessly inadequate for mass audience events. He said: 'if you're making live television for a mass audience then the UK infrastructure cannot cope'.
Short believes the situation has forced producers to be 'economical with the truth' as to the impact of voting on shows, or to limit the input from voting, or increase the length of time voting is allowed.
Short said that a show such as Fame Academy, which attracted 2.5 million votes, saw a massive peak in voting after a 'call-to-action' from presenters. But the state of the network forced them to stop taking SMS votes from the start of the last show on Friday.
Mobile Data Association chairman Mike Short admitted there were problems but insisted the infrastructure is largely in place. Short said: 'The issue is that it's a shared resource - it's not a dedicated network. Interactive SMS works well but instant voting for instant collection is still a challenge for the industry.'
Short said most producers have good experiences with SMS TV, but admitted it was a new market with some inevitable teething troubles.