At the weekend, the 5 month old ITV Bingo Night Live ended with the last standing £25,000 jackpot being given away to the winner of the final house game. The Bingo Night Live website says this was the end of the series, which to me implies the show is coming back. However, there’s news from various sources online that the show is gone for good, and it seems it was cancelled ahead of its time. One forum speaks of redundancies for the crew, so it definitely looks like it was cut short than it was expected to run for. I’ve heard that emails were also sent out, but as a player I never received one.
Still, it was a good run, and the show managed to do a lot to raise the profile of Bingo all the time it was running. That said, from the very start I questioned it’s effectiveness as a vehicle for attracting players to the ITV’s online bingo site. ITV Bingo has been very underwhelming every time I’ve logged in (through its torturous multiple windows) with their seldom being more than 50 players in a game.
In a way I think it echoes my experiences of online bingo as a whole. Where people offer free games to sign-up players, they tend to not attract regular cash players who are long term fans of the game. The free aspect of the show was always going to be appealing, but unfortunately it was appealing to the wrong sort of players. We’re yet to see a mainstream pay to play TV Bingo, and for me, that would be the way forward.
I never really followed the show myself as I don’t watch TV very much, and not at that time of the night. However, it was regularly pulling in around 200,000 viewers a night which is pretty impressive. It’s a shame they never really gave it more thought though – the show suffered on a few points. As an acquisition tool it was too expensive, as entertainment it was lacking and any mass audience appeal it could have had was diminished by its late time slot. There’s still scope to do something with the game as a TV format that’s exciting, financially lucrative and entertaining, but it seems after a lot of hype, Bingo Night Live was not to reach those ideals.