Playmania: Dubious behavia [sic]

When I’m really trying to chill and I decide its time to stop watching TV, and if the cat seems to be in a good mood, I’ll leave GSN’s PlayMania on. Well, the presenters are always fairly cute.

Each time I watch it I wonder how they make their money. Some of the presenters seem to be permanently waiting for someone to fill the first slot in their player’s lounge.

I sensed a scam. If 10 people bid on a puzzle that gives away $100, plus air time, etc, that’s a big loss, right?

Tonight they were asking for titles of movie sequels, and nobody seemed to be calling in. I could think of a few (I even had the top one as it turned out). So after about 10 minutes I texted in, as the instructions suggest.

I got my text message saying “We may call u back … you’ve been billed $0.99”. So I waited. When it was obvious people were not going to guess and they were trying to get people to call, I decided to put in a second text, so if I did get thru I might get to try my two favorites (Terminator 2 and Dead Mans Chest).

The girl on the show was just short of pulling hairs to get people to play, crank up the prizes. It seems that whoever was supposed to be bringing people through, tho, wasn’t getting the message.

As I sat and waited, they went a whole 5 minutes without any callers showing up.

I happened to be chatting to someone online. Remarkably, he and his wife had both texted in having ideas for answers too (I think she had Shrek 2 in mind having just watched it earlier with the kids). They’d been waiting 5 minutes longer than myself. And they’d texted in on an earlier puzzle and on a previous night.

Here’s the thing. None of the callers ever sound like they are on cell phones – atleast, that’s what makes me sceptical.

Since they don’t get to charge audience ticketing fees, then if they can offer $400 for an answer, they’ve got to need at least 400 people to text in at 99c each. And that’s just to cover the prize. Presumably, they need more like 1000-1250 people to give away that much. And since it shows nationally, it’s hard to believe they have a hard time getting so few people to text, so I’d go ahead and gamble that it seems like your odds just of getting your text followed up is around 1:2000.¬†(Edit: My original numbers were off because of a typo in the first result, that’ll teach me to change numbers without double checking¬†:)