A week ago there was the rumor that British broadcaster ITV (LSE: ITV) could be fined a record $7.8 million (4 million pounds) for its part in the premium phone line scandal which rocked Britain last year. It turns out that was conservative — regulator Ofcom has fined it 5.7 million pounds (US$11.4 million), almost triple the previous highest fine, 2 million pounds given to producer GMTV last year reports C21 Media. The high fine is due to the seriousness and the repeated nature of the faults, and takes into account the 7.8 million pounds ITV has already pledged to return to viewers and charity — so what was the original amount?
Philip Graf, chairman of Ofcom’s content sanctions committee, said: “ITV programme makers totally disregarded their own published terms and conditions and Ofcom codes. Further, there was a completely inadequate compliance system in place. The result was that millions of paying entrants were misled into believing they could fairly interact with some of ITV’s most popular programmes.” The fine was split amongst a range of ITVs subsidiaries. ITV executive chairman Michael Grade accepted Ofcom’s fine today, saying it was “an appropriate moment to restate ITV