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ITV pulls plug on premium rate phone-ins

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ITV has cancelled all premium-rate phone-ins across its channels while auditor Deloitte checks the bills.

The probe takes two parts - first to check all current phone-ins are being run properly and, secondly, a retrospective investigation into all such competitions which have been held in the last two years.

Therefore, all premium rate competitions, whether by landline, mobile phone, or red button have been cancelled.

Competitions will not return until signed off programme by programme by Deloitte. ITV issued a statement to the Stock Exchange which said it had asked auditors to report back "with some urgency" - the statement did not mention any impact on revenues.

Eckoh, the phone service provider for Cactus TV which produces the Richard and Judy Show, also issued a statement to the LSE yesterday. It said it supported ITV's decision and would co-operate with the investigation.

Premium rate services regulator Icstis, which is running its own probe, also welcomed the decision. It said the TV industry had a role in restoring viewer confidence in such competitions and it was glad ITV was taking those responsibilities seriously.

Shows hit include Dancing on Ice, Loose Women, and This Morning.

For more details, see Icstis's statement (pdf.), or one from ITV here. ®

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