The commercial radio network chart show - now called bigtop40.com - has been told off by Ofcom for mentioning iTunes too much.
During the programme, listeners have been encouraged to head over to iTunes to buy downloads and "influence the chart" right up to the last minute. Ofcom has decided that this went a bit too far, and told them to stop doing it. ("Thus ruining its raison d'etre", as Simon T observes - indeed, there does seem to be a desire to earn whatever the referral fee is these days.)
Ofcom accepted that reference to “the iTunes top ten” was editorially justified as a means to explain the specific source and nature of the Big Top 40 chart’s top ten places. Likewise, Ofcom accepted that an occasional reference to the Big Top 40 chart being “powered by iTunes” could be editorially justified as a means to explain the nature of the entire chart, which was influenced by iTunes as a data source. However, Ofcom did not consider that the repeated references throughout the programme to iTunes (whether referring to the top ten or the chart more generally) served any further purpose and therefore appeared gratuitous. Ofcom considered there was insufficient editorial justification for the sheer number and frequency of these references.
What's equally interesting is that iTunes only "powers" the Top 10 of the chart:
While the top ten of the Big Top 40 chart reflect iTunes’ top singles download sales, positions 11 to 40 in the chart are informed by iTunes sales data but ultimately decided by Global Radio.
In other words, if I'm reading that correctly, three quarters of the chart is just made up? What sort of chart is this, anyway?
Also interesting is that Ofcom don't seem to have bothered themselves by asking if the claim that buying some downloads in the last hour of sales is really going to have any influence on the chart - set against a week's sales nationwide?