Channel 5 have been fined an astonishing £300,000 for faking winners on the popular daily competition Brainteaser. Following the issues regarding Richard & Judy’s TV competitions, “Channel 5 informed Ofcom of five viewer competitions between January and March 2007 where ‘winners’ announced on the programme were either fictitious names or members of the production staff. In each of the competitions, viewers were required to rearrange a group of letters appearing on screen”. These were investigated by Ofcom and they announded their findings on June 26th.
According to This Is Money “Ofcom found 11 further similar or identical instances of unfair competitions in Brainteaser and its spin-off programme Memory Bank”. Whilst the fine is the biggest ever handed out by Ofcom, Five are not going to appeal, although they “are disappointed with the very high level of the financial penalty imposed”. The channel must broadcast two statements about the findings too. Both Brainteaser and Memory Bank have now ended (Out-law).
Again this is another step in ensuring that competitions are run fairly, and the fine is a warning to other operators to make sure that they comply with the rules. However Brainteaser was a popular competition, creating a lot of genuine winners and many compers will be sad that it’s now ended in such disappointing circumstances.