Ofcom has fined breakfast broadcaster GMTV a record £2m for misconduct in viewer competitions run between 2003 and 2007. The broadcast watchdog has also ordered the morning show to broadcast a summary of its findings on three separate occasions.
Ofcom found that GMTV breached several rules on conducting competitions “fairly” and around the use of premium rate telephone services in programmes.
In particular it found instances of the show picking competition finalists before phone lines had closed and also using the “15/5” method, where it selected 15 finalists between 6am and 8.30am and the remaining five after 9am. Viewers that called between 8.30am and 9am had less chance of being selected than those calling before 8.30am. It was also found guilty of selecting the final five competition finalists before lines had closed.
The fine comes in the same week that the show’s phone-in provider Opera Telecom, was fined a record £250,000 by Icstis, the premium rate telephone service regulator. It found that over four years 18 million callers were charged more than £20m for entering competitions that they had no chance of winning.