Feeds

Telly psychics fail to foresee £12k fine for peddling nonsense

Insert 'didn't see that coming' gag here

Top three mobile application threats

Psychic TV has been fined £12,500 for failing to remind viewers that it’s all nonsense, while interactive quiz channel The Big Deal got stung with a 10 grand fine for advertising the service - something neither of them saw coming.

The broadcast breached Ofcom's latest guidance for flimflam artists: that they must regularly remind viewers they're talking bollocks, both in words and on-screen banners, and that claims of efficacy aren't permitted. Both Psychic TV and Big Deal managed to breach both those clauses.

The broadcast claimed psychics could provide "accurate and precise" readings for those who called in. Presenters provided evidence in the form of anecdotes about previous successes (which isn't allowed) and claimed to have worked for various police forces in solving crimes, specifically in connection with the murder of Milly Dowler, which is also verboten - if only because it isn't true.

Ofcom can't ban psychics from appearing on TV, and dial-in TV is a burgeoning industry right now, so the regulator erects a maze of legislation requiring broadcasters to constantly remind viewers that it’s all a bit of fun and shouldn't be taken seriously.

Ofcom is in the enviable position to make that statement - unlike the Daily Mail, which has just paid out £125,000 following claims that a performing psychic was cheating. The Mail's mistake was to label Sally Morgan a fraud, rather than just, er, not to be taken seriously, but Ofcom can explicitly require presenters to denigrate their own beliefs as nonsensical entertainment.

Ofcom regularly sanctions Participation TV services (PTV), though normally it's those late-night premium rate chat lines that attract the regulator’s ire, for being excessively graphic while trying to recruit callers.

As that business moves online it falls outside Ofcom’s remit, but the slow migration is a reminder of how ubiquitous TV remains despite the obvious advantages of internet delivery. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.