ITV cleared over World Cup goal gaffe
Monday, August 23 2010, 12:26 BST
By Andrew Laughlin,
Ofcom has cleared ITV over the "unfortunate error" that led to viewers on ITV1 HD missing England's opening goal at the World Cup.
On June 12, 1.5m viewers were left outraged when ITV1 HD switched to a Hyundai advert and then a blank screen just as Steven Gerrard scored in the fourth minute against the USA.
Despite receiving 823 complaints about the incident, media regulator Ofcom has opted against imposing sanctions on ITV over what was deemed an "unfortunate" mistake.
ITV said that it "deeply regretted" the incident, which was caused by "human error" in the master control room operated by its transmission provider, Technicolor.
The broadcaster said that a 'take-next' switch had been "inadvertently activated which led to the next scheduled item, a Hyundai sponsorship bumper, being transmitted prematurely".
In response, ITV has hired external consultants to run an operational review within Technicolor to introduce extra precautions against such an incident occurring again.
Despite accepting that the error was "inopportune and regrettable", ITV expressed its belief that the situation only affected a minority of the game's total audience, as over 90% of viewers were watching in standard definition on ITV1.
After reviewing the situation, Ofcom acknowledged the frustration of ITV1 HD viewers at the transmission break, but decided that ITV's actions to resolve the situation had been sufficient.
"The inclusion of an unscheduled break at a crucial point of the game was understandably disruptive and we appreciate the frustrations of many viewers who complained to Ofcom," said the watchdog.
"Ofcom notes ITV's acknowledgement of this error and that during half-time coverage of the match, an apology was broadcast to viewers by presenter, Adrian Chiles. Ofcom is also aware that following the match, both ITV and Technicolor apologised for the incident.
"Ofcom accepts that the incident was an unfortunate error and ITV made no commercial gain from it. We note the operational review ITV is carrying out and the immediate action taken both by ITV and Technicolor, including specific measures to avoid this type of incident recurring. In view of this, we consider the matter, on this occasion, to be resolved."