The wave of scandals in the UK’s participation TV trade has wiped up to £200 million off the industry in a year, according to the man who runs the voting solution for the Pop Idol and American Idol franchise. Edward Boddington, founder of Harvest Media Group and its dominant US subsidiary Telescope (which pioneered the interactive format and manages the voting for The X-Factor), told paidContent:UK the scandals had knocked revenue in such businesses from £300 million last year to just £100 million at present. “Bod”, as the business knows him, is on the board of UK premium-rate regulator Icstis and the Mobile Entertainment Forum and speaks on behalf of the sector, his company having smashed successive records for SMS TV participation. Call-TV backend providers like Eckoh and Opera have been fined and ITV ( LSE: ITV ) has taken its Play quiz channel off-air. “There is less formats on Sky, particularly, on the TV side and there has been a slow-down due to the issues this year, and I would forecast a recovery soon,” Boddington said. - Scandals: Criticisms of broadcasters who have transgressed “are probably justifiable”: “Selecting winners before all the entries are in, making up winners, lack of integrity is unacceptable. I don’t think there’s been deliberate attempts, I think there have been sloppy procedures, idle management, sometimes inept management and a complacency. The events in the UK have been a wake-up call. There’s been some justifiable criticism, but I think there’s been an overreaction.” He also blamed “autocratic egos” that ride roughshod over compliance, over-competitiveness and corner-cutting. - Ad-funded: While the rest of the content industry considers switching from charging to ad support, Bod sees the same method - in which viewers could vote for free if they cough up personal data to receive a response from marketers - as a rich seam to tap for participation TV. Conveniently, eliminating charging would also eliminate concern about overcharging. “Of course, Ofcom are going to have to relax their rules about product placement in the UK, which I think are far too onerous. In the UK, product placement rules ... should be relaxed as much as possible because it will encourage this free participation.” - Growth: Call-TV has grown because of an advertising segmentation, production budget cuts and a health UK call-TV service sector, Boddington explained, but: “What the media often don’t get is that the revenue from these programmes, in the grand scheme of things, is never going to replace, in its entirety, the advertising revenue; it’s still a small chunk relatively.” While companies like Eckoh feel the impact on revenue and retreat to their core voice offerings, HMG has “refocused elsewhere” but has seen “no material impact” from the cancellation of ITV Play. - US: What Boddington said was a $25 billion mobile content market should be at $100 billion. “The industry has been a little bit short-termist in overcharging, underdelivering on quality, and therefore there hasn’t been the sustained growth that people expected.” The cost of short codes has been a “barrier to entry for cowboys” and broadcasters there have held off call-TV because advertising is healthier. Boddington expects ad-supported call-TV to arrive in America quicker than the UK thanks to lighter regulation. - Trust: What started as a call-TV scandal has grown in to a wider-ranging national debate on media standards. The participation format needs to accept “collective responsibility” for opening the box but constitutes a “relatively small portion” of the debate.