|Shop at Bid|
|Launched||5 October 2000|
|Closed||17 April 2014|
|Owned by||Bid Shopping|
|Picture format||16:9, 576i (SDTV)|
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Formerly called||Bid-Up.TV (2000–2005)|
Bid TV (2005–2011)
|Sister channel(s)||Price Drop|
(at time of closure)
|Eutelsat 28A||11426 V 27500 2/3|
|Virgin Media||Channel 745|
|Smallworld Cable||Channel 703|
Shop at Bid was a British television shopping channel based in the UK, that ran daily auction style and later fixed price demonstrations. It was the first channel of its kind in the world. The channel first launched as Bid-Up.tv. The channel was owned by Bid Shopping.
The channel was launched by its parent company, Sit-Up Shopping, in October 2000. It started by broadcasting 12 hours a day, much of which were pre-recorded, with auction graphics overlaid so people could bid despite the video itself being pre-recorded. Bid later aired live broadcasts almost 18 hours a day from 7.45am to 2am, with recorded TV Shopping Network presentations during its downtime.
The channel amassed a cult-following as it spread to various digital platforms. This growth in popularity can also be partly attributed to the use of David Dickinson, ex-presenter of the BBC television series Bargain Hunt, in various television advertising campaigns.
In April 2004, a new system for bidding known as Best Bidding was introduced. It now meant all bids acted as proxy bidding, so instead of the bid being entered at whatever is bid, the computer would now automatically bid-up to the value specified, and not over. At the end of the auction, everyone paid the same price as indicated in the on-screen "auction arrow", thus amounting to a uniform price auction.
On the channel, an item was advertised with a specific quantity, and a bid-up from price triangle. Customers phoned in and bid up from the particular amount. The quantity was used to determine which customers 'win' the auction. For example, if there was a quantity of 50 for the product, then the top 50 bidders would win the auction.
In August 2004, the channel had an "Auction Choice" month, during which they featured both rising and falling price auction hours. The falling price auctions continued after this month and are now the only common auction format on the channel.
Prior to December 2004, each item also had a "guide price", described as being the manufacturer's recommended retail price or an average of prices from other retailers. However, these were removed following the collapse of shopping channel Auction World.tv, which was criticised for advertising misleading guide prices.
Bid TV (2005–2011)
On 21 January 2005, the channel was rebranded Bid TV to reflect the fact that more of its auctions followed the Price-Drop TV format, meaning that bidders were only rarely bidding "up". Bid TV no longer broadcast any rising-price auctions. A new graphic was added in October 2005 to show the start price of falling price auctions.
When the channel originally launched, one of the most popular features was the relaxed style in which the presenters and assistants would have a lot of freedom to interact with each other. For instance, the presenter whose shift was starting would come on air for the last few minutes of the previous presenter's shift and interact with them. However, although still relaxed, this presenter interaction seems to have been stopped with the launch of Bid TV. Despite the fact that they no longer uses an auction hall theme, the presenters exclusively refer to the products they sell as 'lots' and to their customers as 'bidders'. When referring to the next item to be sold the presenters and assistants will say "Closing next..."
Early 2006 saw the website completely overhauled in an attempt to increase its user-friendliness and overall aesthetic appeal. Its new design was inspired by that of eBay, the world's most popular auction website, in an attempt to capitalise on its popularity.
On 10 May 2006, the on-screen graphics were changed so that products are now sold in pounds and pence, as opposed to just pounds, a change previously incorporated into Price-Drop TV.
In August 2006, a new graphic was introduced, showing Bid TV's website address and a falling arrow. This was shown as soon as the assistant has shown what is coming up next, and introduces the presenter.
In August 2007, they began to sell products with choices. On certain products (often bedding or clothes) the customer was able to choose what size or colour they wanted the item in by pressing a certain button once on the phoneline. The graphics for these auctions are different showing the start price, the current price, the quantity of the 'main' choice and a list of other options. When the main choice item is sold out, the price is locked and is what everyone pays regardless of choice made. If another choice is selling faster, then 'limited' appears next to its name and the name vanishes when it has sold out.
As a celebration for Bid TV's 7th birthday, in September and October 2007, the channel held a six weekend megadrop promotion where at least one product each hour between 8pm on Friday and 1am on Sunday was sold for £1 plus postage. They have run similar promotions in the past, but this was the first time that Bid TV used the Price-Drop TV name Megadrop.
In order to promote the sister channels of Bid TV, Price-Drop TV and Speed-Auction TV, a small preview of what is currently being sold on these channels before each product was introduced in January 2008.
On 21 June 2008, the channel removed the former graphic displaying the channel name, and replaced this with the web address instead.
In September 2008, all three Sit-Up channels removed start-prices from their graphics. However, they still appear on the websites.
As of 6 October 2010, Bid TV broadcasts live from 7.45am to 1.30am everyday.
Preparations for the 10th Birthday (5 October 2010)
On 5 October 2010, Bid TV celebrated its 10th birthday. As part of the celebrations and further expansion of the Sit-Up Shopping channels, a £5 Million Warehouse Clearance event took place from 16 August 2010 for six weeks, following the announcement that the company is relocating its warehouse in Tamworth to a new larger one. The studios of all three channels will receive new looks from 6 October 2010.
On 3 October 2010 at 12.40am, host Peter Simon stated that the studio was to be demolished in a few hours time, and that live broadcast would be filmed from the Speed Auction TV studio (complete with yellow/black striped construction tape and brown dust-sheets as a backdrop this was to fit in with the theme of Bid TV's studio being under construction) until the new studio was ready to broadcast in, on 6 October at 6pm.
10th Birthday (6 October 2010)
On 6 October 2010, Bid TV celebrated its 10th birthday. From 7.45am to 6pm, the broadcast carried on as usual in the temporary studio (that was normally used for Speed Auction TV), with filming commencing in the new look studio from 6pm onwards, also at this time the old on-screen graphics were replaced with brand new graphics which were used until 1 August 2011.
On 1 August 2011, 'Bid TV' changed its name to 'Bid' dropping the 'TV' part of their name. Along with the new name, new buying graphics were introduced on all three Bid Shopping channels and new idents compromising of different 3D products flying around the new logo designs were shown. The new design was created to make buying easier for the viewer. At the same time as the new channel design, multi-buy was introduced on certain products where the viewer can select to buy more than one product at the same time (P&P is still applied to each item). Bid in this form ended on 10 March at 10pm.
Shop at Bid and closure (2014)
On 10 March 2014, Bid rebranded into 'Shop at Bid' - a new format including a fixed price dynamic which saw the disappearance of the falling prices that had been part of the channel since 2005. A new premium rate number was introduced which cost 20p per minute as opposed to the previous £1.53 (per call). In terms of the buying process, viewers spoke to an advisor once they purchased an item and did not require a call back.
This change was very short lived, lasting just over one month. On 17 April 2014, Bid Shopping, the channel's owner, went into administration; Shop at Bid and its sister channel Price Drop were closed down with immediate effect with 229 jobs being lost. Websites for the channels were immediately pulled offline, and a technical fault card appeared on the channels. On 23 April 2014, the Bid and Price Drop websites were updated with information regarding the administration, and the channels were pulled from Virgin Media. The channels were later removed from Freeview and Sky on 25 April 2014. On Virgin Media & Sky, nowadays, Shop At Bid's EPG is blank. 
Bid uses a premium phone rate charge of £1.53 per call for bidding on an item by phone. Additionally, shipping and handling costs at least £7.99 for all items, (although it is mentioned in smaller text). Thus, each items costs at least £9.52 more than the most prominently displayed price. Customers are however able to place bids for items on the website (providing they are registered) so as to avoid the initial £1.53 charge, but not postage and packaging.
The ASA have upheld complaints against Bid on two separate occasions. In the most serious case, they ruled that Bid TV had overestimated the guide price of £1,700 for "Black Agate Globes"; "Bid-Up could only provide proof of one supplier that may have sold the globe for £1,700". In fact, one supplier whom Bid TV claimed sold the item for £1,700 actually offered to sell the item for £265 with most companies offering the globe for considerably less than £1,700: "between £250 and £500". Bid was therefore found in breach of ASA broadcasting codes for providing inaccurate pricing.
In 2009, Bid TV attracted attention in the press and on internet forums following an incident where the same host, Paul Evers, appeared on both Bid TV and Price-Drop TV at the same time, fronting two different auctions, both apparently 'live'. Sit-Up's chief executive Ian Percival explained the situation by saying "We are experimenting by using recorded video of a sale but playing it out with a live auction. The price and the quantity are live - as shown on the graphics - but the video is pre-recorded. We've only done it a couple of times before." A subsequent press report stated that these recorded auctions would be scrapped following complaints and a possible ASA investigation. Sit-Up's head of presentation Andy Hodgson said "We have done it a couple of times and have no firm plans to do it again." However, Sit-Up's channels have in fact routinely featured these so-called "graphic led" pre-recorded auctions since launch. A mix-up in one of these auctions in 2002 led to a complaint being upheld by the ITC.
On 21 May 2013, it was announced that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had referred Sit-Up Limited, who operate Bid to Ofcom for consideration of statutory sanctions following repeated breaches of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising. Ofcom has confirmed that it has accepted the referral. Since January 2012, there have been 33 ASA rulings against Sit-Up Ltd. The two main types of problem have been misleading pricing claims and misleading product descriptions.
- Adele Sica
- Caroline Lyndsay
- Elisa Foreman
- Justin Hazell
- Kevin Duala
- Mark Ryes
- Nicola George
- Peter Simon
- Paul Becque
- Keith Harris (2005-2006)
- Andy Hodgson
- Greg Scott
- "TV channel Sit-Up falls into administration despite passing CVA last month". Retail Week. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "Administrators appointed to sit-up Limited". KPMG. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- Robertson, Colin. "Host on 2 'live' shows... at same time". The Sun.
- Robertson, Colin. "Shopping channel axes fake live shows after investigation". The Sun.