UK TV Boss Quits After Phone-In Scandal

27 July 2007

LONDON: Paul Corley, managing director of ITV-owned breakfast TV broadcaster GMTV, has fallen on his sword following revelations of phone-in quiz scams. He will leave in September after new safeguards have been put in place to restore trust in the company.

GMTV admits a "significant number" of callers were misled into entering premium-rate phone contests that they had little or no chance of winning.

It now pledges to offer refunds to callers who believe they were scammed during a four year period and, in a gesture of atonement, will donate £250,000 (€182k; £122k) to a children's charity.

Says Corley, who has led GMTV since 2001: "These measures are intended to show viewers that the company will have the right systems and compliance procedures in the future to ensure that this will not happen again.

"It is important that people take responsibility when mistakes are made that threaten the trust of our viewers. I hope that my resignation, and the strong measures we have put in place, will help to restore that trust in GMTV."

The company will also introduce "strict measures" for the policing of future phone-ins. They include: the appointment of a compliance officer; regular inspections of future phone service partners; finalists and winners to be chosen only by GMTV staff.

Every British terrestrial broadcaster has been tarnished by the phone-in scandal, which has led to internal investigations and a probe by media watchdog Ofcom.

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