BBC sacks Proximity for data inaccuracies

The BBC has sacked direct marketing agency Proximity for sending out inaccurate statistical information in letters relating to TV licensing. The public broadcaster is now re-tendering the business.

Proximity was stood down following an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph, which followed a viewer complained that he had received two letters on the same date from the TV licensing division, which contained conflicting data.

While one letter stated that there had been 33,781 licence fee evaders caught in the previous month, another letter on the same date used the figure 69,838.

The BBC has now confirmed that some statistics used between January 2006 to November 2008 were inaccurate.

Proximity has either sacked or taken disciplinary action against staff that had worked on the business, but the agency would not confirm if it would be involved in the re-tender process.

In a statement, Proximity says: “We apologise for the unacceptable data inaccuracies which occurred due to human error in the regional evader data quoted in some TV Licensing mailings.

“We have conducted a full investigation in co-operation with the BBC and steps have already been taken to eliminate the problem. Those responsible for the data errors have left Proximity or face disciplinary action. Proximity will cooperate fully with the contract re-tender process.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here