ITV has been slammed by the media watchdog Ofcom after failing to meet its quota for making programmes outside London for two years running.

While the broadcaster is required to spend half of its budget on producing shows outside the capital, it fell "significantly below" its quota in 2007, according to Ofcom, spending only 44 per cent on non-London programming.

And a separate audit of 2006 figures revealed it had missed its targets in that year as well, spending 46 per cent of its budget on programmes outside the M25.

The findings, which represent a breach of the Communications Act, could see ITV hit with a new fine, following its recent £5.67 million punishment over premium rate phone-in errors.

"Ofcom believes it is important that broadcasters meet the minimum requirements set out in their licences," an Ofcom statement explained.

"ITV's failure to meet the value element of its out-of-London quota is a serious matter, and one which is the subject of further consideration by Ofcom with a view to regulatory action."

In response, an ITV spokesman said the network had met its "required volume" on non-London programming in 2007.

"However we accept that the quota in terms of value was not achieved during this period," he added.

"We recognise that we must comply with these challenging obligations and we will be taking the necessary steps to meet the quota in 2008."


22/05/2008 08:53:50