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ITV Gets Slapped By OFCOM!

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by PoochJD, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Well, I've just found out - 18th July - that OFCOM has slapped naughty old ITV1 on the wrist - for breaking the OFCOM regulations twice, on two separate events! :clap: The following was taken from the latest Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin. Enjoy! :D

    "Formula 1 racing – San Marino Grand Prix" on ITV1, 24th April 2005, Midday

    126 viewers complained about various aspects of ITV’s coverage of this event and in particular the advertising break pattern. The main complaint concerned the placement and length of the final break in the race. The break, (lasting 2 minutes 30 seconds), occurred just as the race, by then a close contest between Alonso and Schumacher, was entering its closing stage and finished just before the final lap.

    The complainants argued that the location of the break and its duration were unacceptable, depriving viewers of live coverage of a vital part of the race and destroying the tension that had built up during the event.

    They suggested that the break could (and should) have been placed elsewhere, either within the race or preferably in pre/post race sections of the programme. Many also objected to the perceived differences between coverage of football and F1 in placement and frequency of breaks – likening the positioning of the final race break in this instance to cutting to advertising during a penalty shoot out. They also complained about other aspects of the coverage and the pattern of advertising breaks.

    A number criticised the fact that a further break, (also of 2 minutes 30 seconds), was taken very shortly after the finish of the race, saying that this simply compounded their impression that the advertising was taking precedence over programme integrity/quality. Others argued that a replay of the ‘missing’ three or so laps after the race was inadequate compensation for loss of live coverage at a crucial stage and also led to shortened coverage of the press conference, missing the appearance of the British driver Jensen Button. A number asked that the coverage be handed back to the BBC.

    We (OFCOM) wrote to the broadcaster querying how the coverage complied with its Rules on the Amount and Scheduling of Advertising and in particular Section 6.7(b), dealing with placement of breaks in sports coverage. This rule states that in live coverage of long continuous sporting events, breaks may be taken at points where the focus of coverage shifts from one point to another of the event.

    Response
    ITV accepted that the final break in the race had been in breach of RASA Section 6.7, having been taken at an inappropriate time. It assured us that it understood the requirements of this rule and took very seriously the need to ensure that the quality of the viewing experience was maintained at the highest standards. It outlined the steps normally taken to ensure that breaks were taken at appropriate times during the race. The production team were in continual liaison with the teams’ pit crews to determine when drivers were to be called in for pit stops or other planned actions. This communication helped to ensure that breaks were not taken at crucial moments in a race. ITV argued that the San Marino Grand Prix had had an exceptional ending where, for the last 15 minutes, Michael Schumacher was vying to overtake Fernando Alonso. The production team would normally wait for the outcome of the situation to avoid being in a break at the crucial moment. As the race progressed, the point at which the last race break would normally be taken passed and a judgement call was required. To take a break before the situation was resolved could have resulted in missing the action. With time running out, the decision was eventually made to take the break. In retrospect the break should have been taken earlier but at the time it had been a difficult call to make.

    ITV said that the analogy suggested by viewers between football & motor-racing comparison did not stand in terms of how breaks interrupted the Formula 1 coverage. The focus during a football match lay with the ball which was the same for the actual spectators at a match. In motor racing, spectators only saw brief glimpses of the action from static positions, whereas the television coverage shows many points of action and follows many different focus points showing, where possible, the most interesting and exciting action. This meant that coverage was switched from one
    action point to another and any exciting action not seen by viewers, whether due to the taking of a commercial break or from events of interest occurring at the same time, were always replayed as soon as practical. The break taken shortly after a race finished was always taken after the last ‘points scoring’ car crossed the finish line but before the drivers got to the podium. The apparent issue in this case had stemmed from the previous break being taken very near the end of the race.

    The replay of the last 3 laps had been required to provide viewers with the best coverage possible; the replay of events was an essential part of Formula 1 coverage where action has been missed for whatever reason. On this particular occasion this did reduce the time available for the press conference and post race analysis leaving no time to show the Jensen Button interview.

    ITV also added that it undertook extensive research at the start of its coverage of Formula 1 and this had been the established break pattern for the last eight years based on the audience feedback.

    OFCOM Decision
    We acknowledge the points made by ITV about its coverage of Formula 1 racing and recognise the problems it had faced in finding an appropriate point for the final race break due to the way the race had developed. We agree that the final race break was in breach of the Rules on the Amount and Scheduling of Advertising, having been taken during an ongoing focus on the battle between the lead drivers, where no natural break point had been present.

    The output breached Section 6.7(b) (natural breaks in sports programming) of
    the Rules on Amount and Scheduling of Advertising. (i.e. ITV1 were naughty, and have now been formally reprimanded about this kind of conduct! Any repurcussions of a similar nature, can result in ITV receiving substantial fines of £10,000 and £50,000!)


    ITN Lunchtime News - ITV1, 9th June 2005, 12.30pm
    A viewer complained that a video clip about children playing on railway lines
    displayed a website address for a site containing hard core pornography. The viewer had accessed the site on the assumption that it was related to the news item and was shocked by the content.

    Response
    ITN said that it had been aware before transmission that the video clip included a visible website address and understood the need to check the site’s content. It had attempted to enter the website, but was denied access. It therefore presumed that the site was no longer active and that there was no need to obscure the address on screen. However it subsequently realised that access had been denied by the firewall on ITN’s own internal computer system, which prevents access to such sites. Once it
    became aware that the public could access the site, the editorial team was alerted and the address was obscured for news bulletins later in the day. ITN accepted that the website address should not have been included in the broadcast, and apologised for the error which had led to its inclusion in the lunchtime bulletin. The importance of stringent checks has been reinforced to editorial staff.

    Decision
    We accept ITN’s explanation of how the website address came to be transmitted. We appreciate that it had taken action to try to determine the website’s content prior to broadcast and welcome the action taken. Complaint resolved. (i.e. No charges, but a slap on the wrist!)

    Oh dear, oh dear! They're breaking rules, left, right and centre! Tut, tut, tut! :nono:

    Happy 50th Birthday ITV! :devil:


    Pooch
     
  2. Rock Da Bass

    Rock Da Bass
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    I know ITV is a trash channel but sometimes feel sorry for them. After all they provide F1 coverage and all other programmes absolutely FREE.

    Whereas Sky get to bombard us with as many adverts as they want, show constant repeats and then charge us for the privilige. It just doesn't seem like a level playing field at all. :(

    Just my tuppence worth.

    RDB :)
     
  3. mjn

    mjn
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    For a lighter take on this....... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/19/itn_link_gaffe/

    Independent UK news outfit ITN has escaped sanction by watchdog Ofcom after admitting to broadcasting a link to a XXX website during a 9 June news bulletin.

    The full scale of the outrage is explained in Ofcom's broadcast bulletin number 39 (PDF), released yesterday. The fun-packed issue declares:

    A viewer complained that a video clip about children playing on railway lines displayed a website address for a site containing hard core pornography. The viewer had accessed the site on the assumption that it was related to the news item and was shocked by the content.

    For its part, ITN explained:

    ITN said that it had been aware before transmission that the video clip included a visible website address and understood the need to check the site’s content. It had attempted to enter the website, but was denied access. It therefore presumed that the site was no longer active and that there was no need to obscure the address on screen.

    Fair enough, simple mistake, nothing to see here, move along...

    But hold on a minute, the reason the news team could not access the website is this:

    However it subsequently realised that access had been denied by the firewall on ITN’s own internal computer system, which prevents access to such sites.

    Sigh. In light of ITN's evident lack of web savvy, we at El Reg hereby invite the entire ITV News research staff to a two-hour seminar at Vulture Central entitled "A beginner's guide to the internet: what it is and how it works." There will then be a short recess for organic virgin thigh-rolled prawn* sandwiches and wheat grass juice after which the participants can gain further enlightenment by browsing some of our own favourite sites on kids, railway lines and hot Dutch girl-on-girl-on-girl-on-boy. Firewall permitting, naturally.

    Meanwhile, we accept ITN's apology on behalf of an outraged Middle England:

    ITN accepted that the website address should not have been included in the broadcast, and apologised for the error which had led to its inclusion in the lunchtime bulletin. The importance of stringent checks has been reinforced to editorial staff.

    That's right, the next time you need to check a racy url, leave the ITN building, proceed to the nearest internet cafe and stringently access the domain in question before running back to the office shouting: "Don't run VT, for the love of all that's Holy..." ®

    Bootnote
    *Vegetarian option: organic virgin thigh-rolled prawn sandwiches without the organic virgin thigh-rolled prawns. Please request in advance.
     
  4. lovemunkey187

    lovemunkey187
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    More importantly a "friend" of mine would like to know what the url is.

    My "friend" missed the bulletin and is now curious.
     
  5. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    The irony of it all, is that it shows that with ITV broadcasting even dumber programmes than ever, for dumber sections of the audience, it even employs really dumb people who don't have a :censored: clue about the internet! :clap:

    It shows you have to be really stupid to both watch and work at ITV's headquarters! :rotfl:

    I bet the URL was something really complex, like www.thissitecontainshardcoreporn.com

    Or maybe, the ITV producer in question, thought it might be funny to show a picture of children playing on a railway line, with the website address: www.dumbanddeadkids.com

    Who knows! :D


    Pooch
     
  6. Gary D

    Gary D
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    priceless. i love see itv get slapped, esp for its sports coverage. cheers pooch :smashin:


    Gary
     

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