Channel 4 and Five have unveiled plans to “restore viewer trust” following the damning Ofcom inquiry into premium-rate phone services. The rival broadcasters announced plans just hours after Ofcom launched a consultation into phones-in, quizzes and participation TV channels.
Channel 4’s action plan includes a producer’s handbook including best practice guidelines together with Five, better training and strengthened accountability for independent producers.
There will also be new protocols for clearance of promotional materials and an audience research project examining the relationship between broadcasters and audiences and the issue of viewer trust. The measures have been given outline approval by the broadcaster’s board.
Five is also conducting a review of its procedures. Chief executive Jane Lighting says: “The question of viewer trust is the most serious issue we face today. Our viewers, brand and reputation are the most valuable assets we have.”
Last week the BBC outlined a review of procedures and better training and guidelines for staff and independent producers after it uncovered a number of “serious breaches” of phone-ins and interactive competitions in programmes including Comic Relief and Children in Need.
It followed the announcement of an Ofcom review that concluded “systematic failures” had been made by broadcasters. The Ofcom consultation considers the need to increase the protection of viewers taking part in premium rate interactive services.