X Factor faces reprimand from Ofcom over CD plugs

Cheryl Cole

Cheryl Cole

Ofcom has reprimanded X Factor after last season’s plugging of singles. The media watchdog investigated the show after it found them to be in breach of product placement rules.

Last October Diana Vickers performed her latest single on the show, after which host Dermot O’Leary told the audience, “If you want to download Diana’s single, details at ITV.com/Xfactor.”

He followed a Michael Buble performance by telling viewers the same thing. The show claimed that both errors were caused by an ‘unfortunate script error’, and added that neither single was available to download on the website, or that any information relating to the singles was available there either.

X Factor was also warned to be careful about special effects that may trigger epilepsy in photosensitive viewers after receiving complaints following a Cheryl Cole performance.

The show hires a special machine to detect lasers that may affect sensitive viewers, but were still warned about future conduct.

X Factor aren’t the first people to get on the wrong side of Ofcom on this issue. Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff also got reprimanded for plugging a Tim Minchin DVD.

The Australian singer/comic was on the show, during which they told viewers, “And if you fancy a good laugh this Christmas, then may I recommend Tim’s brand new DVD… you can buy your copy from five.tv/wrightstuff for just £12.93 and save a third off the suggested retail price.”

The show claimed that as Minchin was on the show, it could be deemed show related comment. Ofcom rules state that programmes may promote products and services if the material in question is programme-related.
Ofcom disagreed, claiming that the plug was akin to a teleshopping feature.

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