Thursday, May 08, 2008

ITV is hit with £5.68m fine for phone-in scandal

Yes, it's true, Ofcom has fined ITV £5.68m for it's phone-in scandals. It sounds like an awful lot of money, but considering they made £7.8m from uncounted votes from the TV programmes in question and about 10 million telephone calls were affected it doesn't actually sound that big anymore. Coupled with the fact that ITV generates profits of upwards of £150m a year it really is small fry.

However, the broadcaster has promised to compensate its customers who were affected adn to give back the sum to charity. Ofcom took this into consideration when deciding upon the fines. The penalty is almost three times higher than the previous record of £2 million that was imposed on GMTV by Ofcom in September 2007.

The programmes that were found to have 'serious editorial issues' between 2003 and January 2007 were Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Gameshow Marathon and Soapstar Superstar. The full breakdown of the fines can be found here.

ITV wasn't alone in the phone-in scandal stakes. Other TV and radio stations, including those of our much-loved BBC were also culprits. A full breakdown of that can be found over at the BBC.

Let's hope that's the end of these scandals and we can get back to using telephony and messaging appropriately in participation TV.