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    Wednesday, 21 March 2007

    So have you called a TV phone in...?

    The TV premium rate phone scandal continues to develop. 11,500 text votes for the Dancing on Ice final were not counted by network operator Vodaphone. The texts, meant to contribute to the Saturday night show, were not delivered until Monday morning. ITV have laughed off the incident claiming 'the extra texts would not have affected the result on the night - a win for former England rugby ace Kyran Bracken'.

    Still it is amazing how often we are now hearing of these incidents on mainstream channels following the initial investigation of ITV Play, which has since gone off air. The BBC's D-G Mark Thompson has said the television industry must work to regain trust after the revelations surrounding the phone-in scandal (the Blue Peter one hit the BBC particularly badly). But it may all be too late for the industry to put its own house in order. In an interview in today's Times, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Tessa Jowell said that she would wait to see what action was taken by the regulators Ofcom and Icstis and that if she felt that the regulators did not have sufficient authority to prevent exploitation of the public she would look at giving them more statutory powers.

    Jowell ends by stating: 'We have a principle in this country of free-to-view television once you have paid your licence fee. So any activity that exploits people — which extracts from them more money than they intend to spend — I think has got to be clamped down on very hard.'

    Glad I'm not in Michael Grade's, Mark Thompson's or Jane Lighting's shoes.

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