Closing the stable door 

16 January 2009 tbs.pm/1004

ITV fined £220,000 by Ofcom over regional quotas

It has taken Ofcom a year to punish ITV for a regional programming expenditure shortfall in 2007 (likewise a two year delay for 2006), meaning that ITV has finally been fined for something that largely took place under the leadership of Charles Allen.

Charles Allen stepped down from ITV plc towards the end of 2006, meaning that ITV’s overall direction in 2006 and 2007 was largely his responsibility, since Michael Grade’s leadership wouldn’t have had much of an impact until several months into 2007 – you can feel some sympathy for Michael Grade at this point.

So Ofcom fining ITV at this juncture is a bit like fining a car owner for a driving offence committed by the car’s previous owner, and really helps to illustrate the main weakness of Ofcom as a regulator. It’s also arguably an important reason why public service broadcasting remits have greatly suffered in recent years.

More ironically still, this piece of news was announced on the very same day that Charles Allen was appointed as a non-executive chairman of EMI, where presumably he won’t have to even think about such things as regional production quotas.