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Many of today’s reality shows use SMS/text messaging to get viewers involved with the show. American Idol uses text messaging to decide which contestant goes home. The CBS reality shows use text messaging for activities throughout each season. Most of the shows also offer the ability to vote online. American Idol doesn’t charge a fee for their text message; the only cost for the message comes from any carrier-based charges.
Last night on Big Brother, host Julie Chen announced that “America” would be the seventh juror in the jury that decides who wins the reality show. To participate in the voting, Julie noted that you could text message a code based on the selected choice (Jordan, Natalie or Kevin). After the voting instructions, a faster-speed terms statement was read that included a note that each text message is considered a premium message and will cost $1 on top of any carrier charges. CBS notes, “…and a premium text messaging charge of One Dollar ($1.00) for each successful vote.” They also state that a maximum of 10 text message votes per number are allowed for a potential total of $10.
While you can vote online for the winner, it sure seems like CBS pushes the paid text message option. Throughout the Big Brother season, there have been several contests which also allowed for premium $1/text message voting. With CBS claiming the Big Brother series continues to grow in viewership, is this a strong money train for the network?