Feeds

Regulator allows charging for uncounted TV text votes

If viewers are warned

The Power of One Infographic

Broadcasters can charge people for TV text message votes received after voting has closed as long as the closing time is made clear to viewers, premium rate phone regulator PhonepayPlus (PPP) has said.

The regulator has updated rules (pdf) introduced in 2008 as a wave of phone vote scandals rocked the television industry. It said that broadcasters had asked it to clarify whether PPP's guidelines would force them to refund texters for messages received when lines had closed.

PPP has changed a number of the 2008 guidelines, and has said that no refunds need to be paid when viewers are informed that a voting or interaction procedure has a deadline and that messages must be paid for even after that deadline.

"It is acceptable for such invalid entries to be charged, provided that the risk of being charged for invalid entries is clearly communicated to the viewer; consumers whose votes/entries are invalid should be clearly informed that their entry is invalid and whether a charge has applied; [and] invalid entries have not been received after lines have been announced as closed as the result of technical failure," said the new guidance.

The new rules also amend the earlier demand that phone lines not remain open when programmes are repeated. The rules now say that phone lines can stay open during repeats as long as the votes received will still be counted.

The rules also stipulate that competition operators must allow enough time for all responses to be considered, even though this might result in different closing times for responses via different media.

"Where multiple entry platforms are used and different closure times apply, this must be clearly communicated to consumers during any call to action," said the new rules.

The rules govern the behaviour of TV producers who, since the rules' introduction in 2008, must first be cleared by PPP before offering any premium rate text voting services on their programmes.

The rules were introduced in 2008 after a string of scandals about vote rigging and misleading practices in TV competitions hit UK broadcasters. ITV was eventually fined £5.67m by media regulator Ofcom for abuse of premium-rate phone lines.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.