These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Programme Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
Showing Complaints & Interventions Report for DEBBIE AND KEVIN SHOW AND THE DANNY BONADUCE SHOW
Date & time: -
Complaint from: Staff monitoring
You TV is listed under the ‘Entertainment’ section of the electronic programme guide. It is a lifestyle channel looking at issues relating to health, beauty and the mind. The ‘programmes’ are mainly in chat show format, in which interviewees discuss health (mind and body) products which they themselves market. These programmes are repeated a number of times within the same day.
In August 2002, the ITC found You TV in breach of Section 8.4 of the Programme Code (this rule states that no ‘undue prominence’ should be given to a commercial product or service). Two programmes from The Debbie and Kevin Show series were found in breach of this rule. The licensee was also found to be in breach of Section 8.1 of the Programme Code, which limits the proportion of advertising in a factsheet (programme support material) to 35%. Despite this material being found in breach, staff monitoring identified that from 30 August 2002 onwards, You TV were still transmitting one of The Debbie and Kevin Shows (featuring Cathi Graham and her dietary product ‘Fresh Start’). Even though ITC staff had already informed You TV that to transmit a programme that had already been found in breach of the Programme Code was a serious matter, they continued to broadcast the programme. You TV were also providing support material that was in breach of the Programme Code.
The Danny Bonaduce Show was a programme - which featured a guest called Ellen Kreidman, a ‘love expert’. She talked exclusively about her tapes and programme (why viewers should buy it and how it saves relationships). The whole programme was devoted to her method of self-help alongside her product. In the introduction to the show, You TV described the programme as an ‘infomercial’.
Given the seriousness of the offences, a Sanctions Sub-Committee of the Commission was formed to assess the case.
You TV admitted that one of the editions of The Debbie and Kevin Show (featuring Cathi Graham), which had been found in breach of the Code, was transmitted on at least three occasions and continued to be so after ITC staff had explained that such action could lead to a statutory sanction. You TV argued that this was down to an ‘administrative error’. Similarly, You TV admitted that they had continued to send out programme support material in breach of the Code. You TV argued that this was also due to an ‘administrative error’.
You TV accepted that The Danny Bonaduce Show featuring Ellen Kreidman had given her product ‘undue prominence’ and was therefore in breach of the Code.
You TV apologised for the failures to comply with the Programme Code and stated that new arrangements, both in systems and personnel, were now in place.
The Commission was particularly concerned over commercial influence in You TV’s ‘programme’ service. It was concerned to hear that profits were made by it sister company ‘Shop America’ from some of the products featured on You TV’s ‘entertainment programmes’.
The Commission reminded You TV that programmes must be independent and editorially free from commercial considerations. The ITC does not recognise a category of programming called ‘infomercial’. The Commission warned You TV about blurring the boundaries between programmes and advertising. It is unacceptable to attempt to pass off what are, essentially, advertisements for products as programmes.
The Commission has reminded You TV that it needs to examine carefully all its output for compliance with ITC Codes.
You TV have breached and continued to breach the Programme Code, by repeatedly broadcasting a programme which had been found in breach of Sections 8.1 and 8.4 of the Programme Code and continually broadcasting another programme in breach of section 8.4 of the Programme Code. In consideration also of a series of breaches of the Advertising Code (see Advertising Complaints Report, Bulletin 12) the Commission imposed a fine on You TV of £20,000.