TV shows rake in money from their audience all the time in Indonesia, but here’s an outrageous example. Indonesian Idol, a popular singing TV show in Indonesia, has rolled out an “innovative” way to let fans vote for their idols on Twitter. The voting system is branded as Twitter Vote, and it charges users money for each vote. Wait, what?
The eighth season of Indonesian Idol runs every Friday night, and lets fans vote for their favorite contestants via SMS and Twitter for the whole week. Fans must pay IDR 2,000 (17 cents) for every vote cast via SMS or Twitter. In previous seasons of the show, fans had to pay for SMS votes (as is normal), but this is the first time Twitter has been included in the voting system.
To vote on Twitter, users need to use #Vote(idolname) to vote for their contestant while mentioning @IndonesianIdol. They can also use #Supervote(idolname) to give 20 votes to their favorite contestant in just one tweet. Indonesian Idol only counts the votes cast by users who have previously paid on vote.IndonesianIdol.com. They can pay using credit cards, bank transfer, Doku Wallet, or from convenience store chain Alfamart.
Retweets don’t count as votes, unfortunately.
I’m not sure if premium voting via Twitter like this has ever been implemented elsewhere. Using Twitter itself is free so I’m quite surprised that anyone is charging users for engaging via Twitter.
There are other instances of Indonesian TV shows asking for user participation via social media. The recent Miss Indonesia contest let people vote for their favorite contestants on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and WeChat; and another music-based TV contest, Nez Academy, encouraged the public to vote using Twitter. But neither of those shows charged a dime for social media votes.
(Editing by Charlie Custer)