UK Media Watchdog Beefs Up TV Quiz Rules

25 April 2007

LONDON: Amid the continuing furore in the UK over the use of premium rate phone lines in TV competitions and quizzes, [WARC News: 12-Mar-07], media watchdog Ofcom has issued further guidelines as to the nature of the questions programme producers ask viewers.

The regulator has been studying the issue for a number of weeks following "serious concerns about a growing trend in complaints relating to the conduct of some competitions and the potential loss of trust between the broadcaster and audience".

It says that if a quiz is to be fair, the answer must be one that, according to the regulator, "would be reasonably possible for the audience to work out".

Ofcom also requires that that the methodology presented to the viewer must be clear, comprehensive and precise; and that the audience can expect "consistency across similar competitions".

Nor must the audience be misled by a broadcaster stating or implying a competition is simple if it is, in fact, difficult or cryptic.

The new guidelines came into effect this week and Ofcom says it expects all broadcasters to study the code carefully and introduce all necessary measures to ensure compliance.

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff