Media watchdog Ofcom is preparing to issue a damning verdict and seven-figure fine following its six-month investigation into premium rate phone-in competitions on ITV hit shows.
According to reports, the proposed fine is £4m, although a final figure has yet to be agreed on. This amount would outstrip the £2m that GMTV, of which ITV owns 75%, was fined last year when it was found guilty of defrauding viewers through its phone-in competitions.
It is believed viewers of shows such as 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway' and 'Soapstar Superstar' wasted nearly £8m phoning in to competitions that they had no chance of winning.
However, following the revelations, ITV chairman Michael Grade appointed auditors Deloitte to conduct an internal investigation into the use of phone-ins. The broadcaster also promised to spend more than £18m on compensation and measures to prevent it happening again.
A spokesman for ITV said that the company is "not aware of the timing or outcome of [Ofcom's] judgement".
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com