Two million pound fine for GMTV
Ofcom has today fined GMTV 2,000,000 for misconduct in viewer competitions between August 2003 and February 2007. This is the largest financial penalty to be imposed against a broadcaster by Ofcom.
GMTV was found in breach of the following rules:
Rule 2.11 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, which came into effect on 25 July 2005, Competitions should be conducted fairly; and
Rule 8.2(b) of the ITC (Independent Television Commission) Code 2002 "Use of Premium Rate Telephone Services in Programmes: The licensee must retain control of and responsibility for the service arrangements....".
In particular, Ofcom's investigation found the following types of misconduct in GMTV competitions:
Early selection - picking competition finalists before lines had closed. This meant that substantial numbers of viewers who entered the competition stood no chance of being entered into the competition;
15/5 method - selecting 15 competition finalists between 06.00 - 08.30 and the remaining five at 09.00 after the lines had closed. Viewers calling between 08.30 - 09.00 therefore had significantly less chance of being selected as a finalist than those who entered before 08.30; and
Final Five - selecting the final five competition finalists before the lines had closed.
Ofcom has also directed GMTV to broadcast a summary of Ofcoms finding on three separate occasions.
The full Adjudication is available here. This is one of a number of current Ofcom investigations into individual programmes in the area of Participation TV. These are being dealt with on a case-by-case basis, Ofcom will be concluding these investigations over the next few months.