Feeds

TV firm takes £2m hit for competition line scandal

Should have been watching the Opera

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Ofcom has fined GMTV £2m for failing to check up on its service provider, Opera Telecom, and thus allowing the public to get ripped off by an early winner selection scandal.

There's no suggestion that GMTV asked Opera to break the rules, or had much of an idea what was going on. Where dubious behaviour was suspected it was immediately stopped, and Opera had assured GMTV that everything was above board.

As a premium-rate provider Opera is regulated by ICSTIS, which on Monday issued a maximum fine of £250,000 to the firm for its part in the business.

Leaving everything in the hands of the service provider is not acceptable, according to Ofcom, which said in its ruling (pdf):

The committee was particularly concerned by the [GMTV]’s admission that despite the considerable financial importance of these competitions to GMTV (representing as they did 35-40 per cent of its annual profit), there was no audit of Opera’s processes and procedures by GMTV’s management or its board... It did not take adequate account of the possibility that Opera, as a third party, might fail to act in an appropriate manner when taking such substantial sums of money from GMTV’s audience.

Since the details became public, GMTV has been trying to make amends. Its MD and head of competitions have taken a bullet, it's offering refunds to 25 million entries and promoting them daily on TV, and holding 150 free prize draws for those who entered the original competitions but couldn't have won. It is also throwing quarter of a million to Childline for good measure.

The Ofcom committee noted all this, and said the fine would have been a lot more without GMTV's efforts - but it still wants its £2m, and details of the ruling to be broadcast three times on GMTV. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.