- The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. The correct title is sit-up Ltd.
sit-up Ltd (or commonly sit-up) is a UK based broadcaster which launched in 2000. To over 12 million homes, it delivers a 3-channel portfolio of shopping TV channels. Part owned by media company Flextech, sit-up runs two channels, bid tv and price-drop tv, each day from 8am through to 1am the next morning. The downtime (1am-8am) is covered by their rolling advertisement arm, Screenshop. The channels are designed to sell consumer products via digital TV (currently carried by digital satellite, cable, and terrestrial) or the Internet.
bid tv (known as bid-up.tv until 21 January 2005) is a television channel based in the UK - the first of its kind in the world - it runs live televised auctions every day through various digital television platforms:
The channel was launched by its parent company, sit-up Ltd, in October 2000. It started by broadcasting 12 hours a day, many of which were pre-recorded, with auction graphics overlaid so people could bid although the video itself was pre-recorded. It later extended its hours to 18hrs a day (8am - 1am every day) and is now completely live.
90% of auctions have a reserve of £1 - viewers watch as presenters demonstrate the product, and can bid either by telephoning a unique number, and using the numbers on the keypad to bid, or by accessing the bid-up.tv website.
The channel has amassed a cult following in recent months, as it spreads to more and more digital platforms. This can also be attributed to the use of David Dickinson from the BBC television series Bargain Hunt in various television advertising campaigns, seen to appeal to a cult fanbase. bid tv is popular for offering a laid-back, friendly approach to its viewers. Banter is created through the presence of "auction assistants" who help to demonstrate products, as well as informing the viewer of upcoming auctions.
The same company behind bid-up.tv launched a sister channel called price-drop.tv in June 2003.
In early 2004, Jane Omorogbe (better known as Rio from ITV's Gladiators) joined bid-up.tv as an auctioneer.
In April 2004, bid-up.tv introduced a new system for bidding known as Best Bidding. This now meant all bids acted as proxy bidding, so instead of the bid being entered at whatever is bid, now the computer will automatically 'bid-up' to the value you specify, and not over. At the end of the auction, everyone pays the same price as indicated in the on-screen "auction arrow", so this amounts to a uniform-price auction.
In January 2005, the channel was renamed to bid tv to reflect the fact that more of its auctions followed the price-drop tv method (see below), so bidders weren't always bidding "up".
On the channel, an item is advertised with a Guide price (aka RRP), a specific quantity, and a 'bid-up from' triangle. Customers must phone in and bid up from the particular amount. The quantity is used to determine which customers 'win' the auction. For example, if there is a quantity of 50 for the product, then the top 50 bidders will win the auction.
price-drop tv (dropped the dot from it's name price-drop.tv on 21 January 2005) is a shopping channel that is focused on falling prices, using a form of uniform-price Dutch auction.
It began broadcasting on 11 June 2003, with broadcasting hours of 4pm - midnight, Wednesday to Saturday. This was later extended to 8am-1am 7 days a week. It is available to more than 12 million homes in the UK, and is achieving weekly revenue of over £3 million.
It is available on all main digital platforms in the UK:
Its place on Freeview was once insecure, as Channel 4 hoped to launch a new channel later this year in its place. On October 1st, 2004, price-drop.tv changed which multiplex it broadcasts on so as to avoid this conflict.
Each 'price drop' starts at the guide price (estimated value in other shops). The price continues to drop, and buyers can 'drop in' either by phone or on the web and secure their place in the sale. The price continues to drop until all products have been sold, at which point the price 'locks' and everyone pays the lowest price.
price-drop tv is similar to bid tv, but the price will drop automatically from the Guide price until the entire quantity is spoken for by the telephoning public. Products can theoretically go for £1.
Both channels are interactive, with customers' names scrolling on screen as they phone in. People can enter conventionally via TV and phone, or over the Internet.
Screenshop is an infomercial-based shopping channel. It broadcasts 24 hours a day on the Sky Digital platform, and during the hours of 1am-8am every day during sit-up's downtime on its other channels. A deal in July 2004 meant that Vector Direct will now broadcast their presentations exclusively on the channel.
- sit-up Ltd company website (http://www.sit-up.com)
- bid tv website (http://www.bid.tv)
- price-drop tv website (http://www.price-drop.tv)