GMTV chief resigns over phone-in row


GMTV chief resigns over phone-in row
The managing director of GMTV has announced his resignation in a bid to restore viewer confidence in its premium-rate phone-in competitions.

Paul Corley's decision comes after the daytime television programme admitted "irregularities" in its daily prize competitions, which had been run by Opera Telecom.

GMTV suspended all competition activity in response to BBC1 programme Panorama's exposure of "serious operational errors" that saw winners for the phone-ins chosen long before lines had closed.

Mr Corley today also announced a range of measures to win back viewer trust, including full refunds to affected consumers and 250 free prize draws worth £10,000.

The programme will also make a £250,000 donation to children's charity ChildLine and appoint a new compliance officer with specific responsibility for premium rate services.

"We would like to apologise unreservedly again for the occurrence of these errors. GMTV – with Deloitte's assistance – has carried out a thorough investigation of our competition operations and we have now compiled as full a database as possible of entrants who may have been excluded," Mr Corley, who will resign after the changes have been implemented, said.

"Anyone who believes they may have been affected can contact us for free by web, or phone and apply for a refund. The new prize draws will be held at the end of August and supervised by an independent observer and all viewers who were not correctly entered will be eligible for inclusion.

"We know that competitions are popular with our viewers and GMTV hopes to bring them back when the right controls are in place. These measures are intended to show viewers that the company will have the right systems and compliance procedures in the future to ensure that this will not happen again," he continued.

"It is important that people take responsibility when mistakes are made that threaten the trust of our viewers. I hope that my resignation, and the strong measures we have put in place, will help to restore that trust in GMTV."

GMTV chairman Clive Jones thanked Mr Corley for his "professional handling" of the phone-in fallout.

"I've known Paul for many years and his resignation is the act of an honourable man," he said. "I am pleased and reassured that Paul has agreed to remain at GMTV until the measures have been implemented and would like to wish him all the best for the future."

GMTV's moves to restore viewer trust in premium-rate phone-ins follow the BBC's decision earlier this month to indefinitely suspend all phone-in competitions after a review uncovered breaches of editorial standards.

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