Out of the ashes of the well loved but poorly thought out ITV Bingo Night Live comes Channel Five’s The Free Bingo Show. There’s been a few major changes, but essentially, the format and even the provider of the online element remains the same as its previous incarnation. PartyBingo are already running Five Bingo (let’s hope they’re doing a better job than they managed with ITV Bingo) and providing the online games for this new show. *Note* Initially the show is broadcast online, not on TV as I first thought and mentioned here. You can see it via the Five website.
As for major changes, well, gone is the late night slot, replaced by instead a mid-morning slot, which is already rife with online bingo adverts and sponsorship, all aimed at the sort of women who are at home at that time which continues to be the main market online bingo wants to go after. Gone too is the 3 games per hour that made the ITV show, well, pretty slow. Instead there are 10 free games played daily. The prize money is also reduced from the high house prize on Bingo Night Live.
I have to admit I haven’t seen it yet, but I have to admit I’m not hopeful for it lasting in this format, so I’d better catch it quick. As a loss leader to get people in to the bingo site, PartyBingo have already proved their inability to turn massive free TV audience into full bingo rooms, so I’m not sure why they’re repeating the mistakes they made last time round. I’m looking at the Five Bingo rooms now, and they’re as quiet as you’d expect at Party.
I have to say, I don’t think Party get Bingo, their whole offering is flawed, and has started introducing alarming Ts and Cs at their bingo site (charging dormant accounts for being inactive for instance!) As much as I’d love to see a big bingo hit on out TV screens, I’m not sure PartyBingo are the right people to drive it. So, I’m guessing Free Bingo Show will end up a Not On TV Long Show, because as already proved in most businesses, free isn’t good business unless you can transform freebie hunters to paying regulars. This is where PartyBingo is failing and will continue to do so unless it shakes up its approach drastically.