Here we have another of @babe_tv’s in-depth blog posts that give us a window into the history of Babestation.  The following blog is all about text chat on the babeshows and how the service was used, how it changed and ultimately what became of it.  If you enjoy your babestation history, follow this link for a timeline of events.  Also if you’re interested in watching thoasands of hours of archived footage and content, why not become a VIP member for unrestricted access.

Once upon a time, all Freeview babe shows operated an on-air text chat service, also known as sexting. That is, the viewer would send a text message to the show (like: “Hi girls, lookin’ great! Please blow me a kiss. Luv Dave.”), and the girls would literally read out the text and reply to it, verbally, on TV. In mid 2009 when Babestation, Partyland and Party People were the only available Freeview babeshows, each received viewer texts and replied to them on air.

Party People would more typically issue its replies by voice-over rather than via an onscreen girl, but there was never any doubt that the replies were coming from the TV models. Partyland would normally split the screen and have a girl taking phone calls in the main split, with one or two girls responding to texts in the remaining portion of the screen. Babestation, meanwhile, had video insets, in which the girls would appear reading and answering texts, and the producers could toggle the insets up to a full screen view as and when required. Babestation did also, however, use the split screen, like Partyland.text chat on babeshows

Above: a compilation of the different presentations for on-air text chat. Clockwise from top left you can see…1) Partyland’s split screen arrangement, 2) the rather wacky transitional stage of BS Xtra in which two girls would occupy the same couch – one taking calls and one reading and answering texts, 3) a full screen chat intro on Party People, and 4) Babestation 1’s video inset approach.

Not only was all this a way of generating revenue (£1.50 per text) – it was also an excellent way for shows to communicate with the drop-in audience at a time when many Freeview viewers didn’t really know what babe shows were supposed to be. Plus, of course, it additionally allowed the girls to market other services, such as the phone chat, and photo downloads. Its advantages were threefold.

BUT, text chat was labour-intensive and only really economical in a situation where audience levels were relatively low and in need of a boost. Indeed, not only was it labour-intensive – it was intensive on expensive labour. The texts were not being answered by some lad on ‘work experience’ behind the scenes, or by the premium rate phone world’s equivalent to a Twitter bot. They were being answered by well paid TV personalities – and the texts would need to be sifted and moderated offscreen as a preliminary too. In comparison to a busy phone line loaded with queuing or eavesdropping callers, the economy of on-air text chat would quickly begin to look flawed.

There was also the problem that if the audiences got really big, the volume of texts could not realistically be handled, and large numbers of viewers would be texting the shows but getting no on-air response. That would damage the long term prospects of the service, because if someone texts in three or four times and gets no reply from his intended recipient, he’s probably not going to text in again. He may not even use any of the show’s services in future, and that was a big risk to be taking.

So, the busier the shows got, the less viable on-air text chat became, and in September 2009 the Cellcast Freeview night shows began to rapidly phase out their on-air text chat. By the end of the month, only one show (Partyland) out of what was now four, had managed to retain its onscreen text box. The writing was on the wall.


But late October ‘09 brought a strange dichotomy, with the new text-chat only show Babestation Xtra initially looking like a U-turn for Babestation, whilst Bang Babes arrived on Freeview with no hint of a text chat facility at all. One of the interesting points about BS Xtra’s text drive was that it sought to double the price of texting from £1.50 per unit to £3. It did this by focusing heavily on picture messaging rather than straight texting, and selling the picture messaging service to guys who wanted to send in photos of their genitalia.

Picture messaging had been a feature of some previous Freeview shows, but it wasn’t sold as in as focused a manner as BS Xtra sold it, with the girls apparently assessing the quality of the guys’ “wangs” at production-line speed, and awarding them scores – one after the other.

Most of the girls seemed to take it in good humour (Yvette memorably billed herself as “the Simon Cowell of willies”), but there was always a feeling of discomfort about the concept, which Lolly Badcock later summed up on Twitter. Character for character, she wrote: “DO NOT TWEET ME PICS OF YOUR COCKS …… No girls want to see them so why do you tweet us them ..What is wrong with u !”


And that raises another interesting point about the viability of text chat on the babe channels in 2013 and beyond. Today, Twitter is almost doing what the babe show text messaging services of the late noughties were doing. It’s allowing guys to message the models, and potentially get a response from the girl herself – but it’s allowing them to do it for free.

Naturally, because the guys are not paying for the service on Twitter, whether or not they get an acknowledgement will depend a lot more on whether or not what they’re saying is perceived as having any value or being worthy of a response. It still shocks me the number of guys who think the models are interested in talking dirty to them for free via the private messaging system of a social networking site. Meanwhile, other blokes have tried relentless “Hi, how are you babe?” type messages, then realised they’re wasting their time, and so come up with ruses like pretending they want to buy the women presents or give them money. But even the ruses are typically seen straight through by the models and ignored. What the guys often don’t get is that they’re far, far, far, far, far from the first person to have tried that trick, and the girls know exactly what to look for.

Returning to the plot, BS Xtra’s picture messaging phase didn’t last long, and by early 2010, Xtra – the sole remaining terrestrial night show with an advertised text chat facility – was on course to eliminate the service entirely. The final remnants of on-air text chat were dissolved at the end of March 2010, although by that time the service was mainly only operated in the Sky-only portion of BS Xtra and it had all but vanished from Freeview anyway. The fascinating babe show facet which had been with Cellcast’s night channels from the beginnings of Babestation, had finally bitten the dust.

Babestation’s night shows have since made one or two very brief and half-hearted attempts to re-implement on-air text chat in the old Party People format of voice-only (offscreen) responses, but on no occasion has it vaguely looked like lasting more than the odd few nights.

Ultimately, for big terrestrial channels, on-air text chat is a lot of effort for little direct gain, it’s a waste of premium labour, it can put customers off using the more expensive services and/or damage longer term business, and Twitter has probably now seen off the bulk of the demand from the attention-seeker market anyway. But the channels which operated the text chat services must be recognised for their experimentation.

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