Feeds

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

Insert 'didn't see that coming' gag here

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.