Teletext owners fined £225,000 for closing service

Early grave costs company dear

The owner of Teletext, DMGT, has been fined £225,000 by Ofcom for taking the service off air.

The reasoning for the fine is because the termination of Teletext was in violation of public service broadcasting rules, given that the service was earmarked to run until 2014.

As DMGT shut Teletext in December 2009, this has been considered by Ofcom as "a serious breach of the obligations in the public Teletext service licence."

The penalty given is actually half of the total fine (£500,000) which could have been imposed.

Effective incentive

To show that it means business, Ofcom commented in its report: "The level of the financial penalty to be imposed in this case should be sufficient to act as an effective incentive [to all licence holders] to continue to provide all elements of their respective licensed services throughout the licensed period, even if the licensee believes that there are commercial reasons for it to cease providing all or part of the licensed service during the licence period."

Ceefax, the BBC's teletext service is under licence to run until 2012 – the same year that the UK's digital switchover is meant to be completed.

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