Monday, March 09, 2009

X Factor cleared

Ofcom has considered the complaints generated by the last season of the X Factor, including these:

1. they experienced problems getting through when attempting to vote and thus, they believed, some of the results were unfair. The highest volume of complaints of this nature related to editions broadcast on 1 and 8 November 2008, on which contestants Austin Drage and Laura White were eliminated respectively;
2. the number they dialled did not correspond with the message advising which contestant a vote had been recorded for;
3. during one particular recap of the voting numbers broadcast on 18 October 2008, the telephone number allocated to contestant Ruth Lorenzo was incorrect and as such, she may not have received all of the votes intended for her; and
4. contestant Diana Vickers was unable to perform in the contest on 8 November owing to illness and therefore automatically went through to the subsequent week. Some complainants thought this was unfair on the other contestants.

Channel TV - who, in a sleight of hand designed to minimise ITV's exposure to fines, do all the compliance - report that they can find no evidence of people being unable to get through:
In its response, the broadcaster included several examples of complainants who had contacted them claiming the automated message advising of their vote did not match the telephone number they had dialled. However, it transpired they had either misdialled or used the number allocated to the same contestant the previous week. (The contestants’ identifying final phone digits change from week to week.)

Aah. Things are so bad at ITV now, they're quite happy to defend themselves by pointing out that their audience is a bit dim. It's unclear if the phrase "look, they're voting for the X Factor, it's a miracle they can punch the keypad at all, much less get the numbers right" made it into the official submission to Ofcom, but the sense is there.

Ofcom pointed out that the decision to let Diana Vickers through fell, somewhat substantially, outside its remit:
Ofcom is not responsible for the design of ‘reality’ or talent shows. We will intervene in circumstances only where we consider viewers to have been misled or otherwise improperly disadvantaged.

Ofcom are, though, cool with viewers being disadvantaged in a proper manner.


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