ITV Hit With Record £6m Phone-In Fine

09 May 2008

LONDON: UK communications regulator Ofcom has imposed a £6 million ($11.73m; €7.6m) fine on the nation's largest commercial broadcaster ITV, citing "grave and repeated irregularities" with regard to its conduct of premium-rate phone-in programmes.

In addition, the Serious Fraud Office is considering whether to launch a full inquiry into a series of competition shows in which viewers were urged to vote via premium-rate telephone services unaware that they had little or no chance of winning.

Notable among the fingered programmes was the popular Saturday Night Takeaway show hosted by alleged comedy pairing Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

According to Ofcom, there had been an "institutionalised failure within ITV that enabled the broadcaster to make money from misconduct on mass audience".

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff