Eckohgate: ‘Cock up rather than conspiracy’

It could get potentially quite serious, this whole broadcasters-‘unintentionally’-screwing-consumers thing. I’ve called it ‘Eckohgate’. I don’t quite buy the ‘cock up rather than conspiracy’ viewpoint.

At the same time, I don’t buy a conspiracy either. From what I can make out, and from what people have told me anonymously, it appears to be lack of knowledge on the part of those putting on the shows. One imagines that if you told a producer that ‘NO, you must do THIS and THAT because this is a REQUIREMENT’ then the producer would stick to that. But if you don’t actively give them guidance, then… well…. everyone’s very good at telling you exactly how much the calls or texts will cost, but perhaps not quite so hot on the delivery. But, as long as the consumer knows how much it’s costing, everything’s good, right? 😉 Not quite.

Link: Police may be called in over fixed TV shows | Broadcast | MediaGuardian.co.uk

Following an urgently convened meeting with more than 20 broadcasters, producers and telecom service providers, the chairman of Icstis, Sir Alistair Graham, said yesterday they had got themselves into “a pretty grim mess” and promised to involve the police if there was any evidence of fraud.

“If we find any evidence that a criminal offence has occurred, we have very close links with the City of London police force and I can assure you that we will refer any such evidence to the police,” he said.

Mr Whittingdale said: “If someone has been encouraged to call in and take part in a competition that there is no possibility of them winning then that, in my view, is fraud and the police should be brought in.

I’d agree, in my view that is also fraud. But there’s usually a billionth-of-a-chance opportunity to win, you know, if you happen to be caller 509 and manage to get in before the five minutes is up. But there was still a chance! Still a possibility!

“Industry insiders insist that the mistakes are “cock up rather than conspiracy” and remain confident any transgressions will be dealt with by the regulator rather than the police. But they conceded that, at the least, large fines were inevitable if the allegations were proved. They are also resigned to further problems emerging as broadcasters go back through their records.

I wonder who is responsible? The media company? The production company? The aggregator?

Well, it’ll all come out in the wash. I hope it’s all sorted quickly so that the (mobile) industry can move ahead and consumer confidence can be rebuilt.

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