Ofcom Prepares Record Fine for ITV Phone-in Scams

30 April 2008

LONDON: UK media watchdog Ofcom is set to come down hard on the nation's biggest commercial television broadcaster after a prolonged investigation of the phone-in competitions scandal that plagued ITV last year.

The Guardian newspaper claims the regulator is expected to impose a record fine of around £4 million ($7.8m; £€5.07m) on the company, after some of it flagship  shows were discovered to have deceived up to 10 million viewers to the tune of nearly £8 million.

The fine would double the hefty £2m penalty handed to breakfast-time channel GMTV, which admitted to "widespread and systematic deception" of viewers.

ITV says it is "not aware of the exact timing or outcome of Ofcom's judgment".

The regulator's spokesman declares: "We would not comment on an investigation that has not concluded. If there was to be a fine for any broadcaster it wouldn't be communicated until immediately prior to publication."

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff