ITV Phone Scams Verdict

19 October 2007

LONDON: A report on phone-in contest scandals at the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster has caused much embarrassed squirming among ITV's top brass - although none will lose their jobs despite the spectre of multi-million pound fines.

The investigation, by accountants Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, was commissioned by ITV executive chairman Michael Grade after premium-rate scams on British commercial TV networks were exposed earlier this year.

Revelations that up to 10 million viewers of ITV's flagship shows were deceived to the tune of nearly £8 million ($16.3m; €11.4m) have been described by Grade as "horrible" and "inexcusable".

He admitted "cultural failure" at the broadcaster, but declared the motivation of programme-makers had been "to get a better show" which was "misguided but not corrupt".

The millions of viewers who phoned competitions they had no chance of winning will get their money back.

Media regulator Ofcom says it will carry out its own investigation into the 'named and shamed' shows.

  • ITV has inked a deal with Microsoft to promote its hugely popular reality show Help, I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Viewers accessing MSN will get video clips and other content from the show.

    The broadcaster is determined to boost traffic to its website , while the software giant wants to secure more video material to sell online video ads linked to clips.

    Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff