Post Reply 
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
LETS FIGHT TO KEEP PSYCHIC TV CHANNELS
25-07-2011, 07:35 PM
Post: #1
LETS FIGHT TO KEEP PSYCHIC TV CHANNELS
Here is another nail in the coffin of Psychic TV in the UK. To keep the channels going we need to get our heads around the rules and think of ways to get them understood and obeyed and then lobby for any changes we feel are required to keep the channels alive. The rules all changed last September. Please read and comment on the rulings which are public documents and available on various web sites.

Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 180
20 April 2011
22
In Breach
Psychic Interactive
Psychic TV, 25 January 2011, 10:30 to 11:15
Introduction
Psychic TV is a channel offering psychic readings to callers. The channel transmits
frequent promotions of premium rate telephone services (PRS), both voice and text,
by which readings can be obtained, and a facility for viewers to pay for these by
credit card.
A viewer objected that the material contained claims of efficacy and accuracy for the
readings, something that is prohibited by the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (“the
BCAP Code”)
1
.
In September 2010 new Ofcom rules came into force with the effect that channels
and content predicated on the promotion of PRS services („Participation television‟)
became subject to the BCAP Code.
At the same time, the revised BCAP Code allowed PRS-based live and personalised
psychic services on channels licensed for that purpose (previously the BCAP Code
had prohibited such services)
2
.
In permitting this category of advertising the BCAP Code places certain restrictions
on it.
Rule 15.5.2 requires that:
“Advertisements for personalised and live services that rely on belief in
astrology, horoscopes, tarot and derivative practices are acceptable only on
channels that are licensed for the purpose of the promotion of such services and
are appropriately labelled: both the advertisement and the product or service
itself must state that the product or service is for entertainment purposes only”.
Rule 15.5.3 requires that:
“Advertising permitted under rule 15.5 may not:
• Make claims for efficacy or accuracy;
• Predict negative experiences or specific events;
• Offer life-changing advice directed at individuals – including advice related to
health (including pregnancy) or financial situation;
• Appeal particularly to children;

1
The BCAP Code is available at: http://bcap.org.uk/The-Codes/BCAP-Code.aspx
2
Ofcom, not the ASA, is responsible for the regulation of psychic and other „participation TV‟
services: see paragraph c) of the Introduction to the Bulletin.Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 180
18 April 2011
23
• Encourage excessive use”.
Ofcom viewed the material that had been complained about. A female presenter,
Debbie, spoke to camera and to a male psychic, Grant, who was also seen on
camera, but separately. Ofcom noted that the female presenter quoted and referred
to comments made by members of the public about one of the channel‟s psychics:
“…you have been spot on about absolutely everything”; and
“…she would verify that you came out with all these incredible details about this
man she is with now…”
The psychic, Grant, subsequently talked about „rewards from spirits‟, “because your
[i.e. his own] validations are so good”.
He then thanked customers who had made comments of this sort:
“…I want to thank everybody out there for sending that feedback…just to let
them other people know that might be sceptic out there…if you are sceptical,
you‟ve heard that feedback, come through to the phones, I‟m going to the
phones now, I‟m going to the phones now, I‟m going to option 3 for five-minute
calls…”
The female presenter then commented to camera, included the following:
“…I know he‟s a very powerful psychic, I know it with my head, I know it with my
heart, but not the same as when the public phones in, texts, leaves a message
and says this was right, this was right, this was right, and when you talk to us
about the details he‟s given you…”
“…it‟s the magic of hearing your voice saying he got the name right, it was
Steve, six feet one and Aquarian, you say he would come into my life about a
year ago, he came in five weeks ago, oh and by the way there are more details,
stuff about Kent and all the rest of it, and all the details are right…”
“…it is an incredible thing, this is not ordinary and you can‟t just make it up
because people are not going to phone in and text in…”
“…Sammie [a customer] didn‟t just leave a caller comment…she sent in a text
saying „I will verify, I am happy to verify all of this‟…”
A recording of a call from a different viewer was then played:
“Grant, unbelievable reading I‟ve had with you, absolutely fantastic and spot on.
Listen, I can‟t [indistinct] enough how you were absolutely spot on with three
things, so thank you so much”.
Shortly after this, Sammie‟s call was played which repeated the comments about the
name, height and star-sign of a man predicted by the psychic.
The presenter than continued:
“Get it? Five weeks ago he walked into my life – now I tell you what, if you are a
sceptic and you always doubted this work, always thought whatever, this is the Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 180
18 April 2011
24
morning you‟ve just heard two pieces of feedback given to us by genuine
members of the public…so if you are ever going to have doubts, if you ever had
doubts, I want you to take a dare and see, because you know, you might be
right, maybe he‟s just going to talk an awful lot of rubbish, guess what, he
doesn‟t and you can find out, you can try it for yourself – if it feels wrong, put the
phone down – you won‟t – why am I so sure? – because these are not the only
two pieces of feedback I‟ve heard whilst I‟ve been here about Grant Colyer, it‟s
always the same kind of thing, fantastic, got the facts right, accurate – the
difference for me this morning is that someone actually said what the facts were
that were got right – the guy‟s name for goodness sake, his star sign, his height,
the county he lives in…if what you want is a real genuine reading now that
proves the psychic world exists and that it can give you true information about
your future Grant Colyer is on option 3…you can prove it for yourself now and for
good that this really works.”
A constantly scrolling text banner contained various information including call costs
and a statement that the content was for „entertainment purposes only‟.
Ofcom considered that this material raised issues under Rules 15.5.2 and 15.5.3, as
set out above. Therefore we sought comments from the broadcaster in respect of
these rules.
Response
In respect of Rule 15.5.2 Psychic TV confirmed that the material is broadcast on a
channel that is licensed for the promotion of the service and is appropriately labelled.
Further, the broadcaster said, the material states that it is for entertainment purposes
only.
As to Rule 15.5.3, Psychic TV told us that the preceding half-hour or so of the feature
placed the later comments into context. This prior material consisted of a psychic
reading, an inserted promotion for a pre-payment facility, further brief readings,
references to psychics available to take readings and chat between the on-screen
psychic and the presenter. The broadcaster told us that: “The period between
10.30am and 10.55am illustrates the dynamic nature of the programme content and
of how a “theme” may evolve over a period of the programme.”
The broadcaster also quoted from research
3
that Ofcom had commissioned during its
consultation that led to the decision to allow this form of advertising: “…regular
viewers of Psychic TV, particularly female viewers, felt the content could be very
engaging and could play an important role in helping them consider problems and
challenges in their lives. The programming was felt to be trustworthy, particularly by
female respondents.”
That viewers regard Psychic TV as entertainment was not, the broadcaster believed,
in issue, and “clearly there is considerable interaction with viewers, many of whom
claim to benefit from the same.”
In addition, the broadcaster argued that: “It is also clear that viewers may hold
differing views regarding the value to them of the generalized comments of the
psychics. This point was clearly made by Debbie [the presenter]. One viewer, for
example, felt that Grant was “spot on” whilst Debbie observes that others may feel

3
The research is available at:
:http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/participationtv/annexes/report1.pdfOfcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 180
18 April 2011
25
they “talk an awful lot of rubbish”…Debbie is herself a psychic. Like other psychics,
she believes passionately in the genuineness of what she and psychics have to say.
She wanted to share with viewers her thoughts on viewer reactions, not least the
positive feedback being received.”
Further, Psychic TV said that: “Debbie does not suggest that contacting a psychic will
produce or be sure to produce a desired effect. Nor does she make claims for
accuracy. What she does is refer to actual viewer feedback. She uses that feedback
to highlight the possible benefits to viewers of interacting with psychics should they,
of their own volition, choose to do so.”
Generally, the broadcaster defended the material by arguing that the comments
broadcast did not suggest that every prediction will be accurate, that Debbie invited
people to take a “dare” and that callers may conclude that the psychic featured may
“talk a lot of rubbish”.
Psychic TV argued that the consumer is left to form their own view, referring to this
as “…a freedom of choice that was welcomed by the majority of respondents who
contributed to the October 2009 report by Essential Research Ltd.”
Decision
The BCAP Code‟s prohibition on claims of efficacy or accuracy in advertising for
psychic services serves an important purpose. In tandem with the requirement that
such services must make clear that they are intended for entertainment only, the rule
seeks to ensure that these practices are not presented as in any way dependable or
based on any reliable evidence.
In this case, Ofcom first considered whether the advertising had contained claims of
efficacy or accuracy, and then sought to establish whether the service had made
clear that it was intended for entertainment purposes only.
Ofcom did not accept Psychic TV‟s argument about the nature of the material
included in the service. Irrespective of any value or benefit that consumers might
derive from this service, Ofcom considered that the broadcaster had featured a
number of customer testimonials which clearly amounted to claims of both accuracy
and efficacy. For example: “…you have been spot on about absolutely everything”,
and “… he got the name right, it was Steve, six feet one and Aquarian, you say he
would come into my life about a year ago, he came in five weeks ago, oh and by the
way there are more details, stuff about Kent and all the rest of it, and all the details
are right…”
As to the broadcaster‟s argument that the female presenter had qualified the claims
by inviting viewers to take a dare, stating that “maybe he‟s just going to talk an awful
lot of rubbish…”, we were not persuaded that this minimised the effect of the claims
in any way, since they were immediately followed by:
“…guess what, he doesn‟t and you can find out, you can try it for yourself – if it
feels wrong, put the phone down – you won‟t – why am I so sure? – because
these are not the only two pieces of feedback I‟ve heard whilst I‟ve been here
about Grant Colyer, it‟s always the same kind of thing, fantastic, got the facts
right, accurate – the difference for me this morning is that someone actually said
what the facts were that were got right – the guy‟s name for goodness sake, his
star sign, his height, the county he lives in…if what you want is a real genuine
reading now that proves the psychic world exists and that it can give you true Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 180
18 April 2011
26
information about your future Grant Colyer is on option 3…you can prove it for
yourself now and for good that this really works.”
Ofcom was therefore of the view that the claims in the customer testimonials were
simply further emphasised by these repeated claims made by the female presenter.
Broadcasters in this field must ensure that they avoid the inclusion of claims, explicit
or implied, for the efficacy or accuracy of psychic practices. This will require that
presenters, guests and anyone else working on the channel take care to stay away
from this area, and that there is no replaying of testimonials or similar customer
comments given by callers off-air. Avoiding such claims also extends to not allowing
on air any comment, whoever makes it, that could be understood to be an indication
of efficacy or accuracy, including spontaneous comments from customers who might
be speaking on air.
The material included in this advertising featured a number of claims of efficacy and
accuracy for the psychic services that were being promoted, and was therefore in
breach of Rule 15.5.3 of the BCAP Code.
Ofcom then turned to consider the advertising against the requirements of Rule
15.5.3. Ofcom accepts that the Psychic TV service is licensed for the promotion of
such services and the broadcast content is labelled on air as being for entertainment
purposes. However, in view of the fact that the material featured repeated claims of
efficacy and accuracy in breach of Rule 15.5.3, as set out above, Ofcom judged that
these claims contradicted the purpose of the mandatory labelling of this material as
being merely entertainment. Therefore Ofcom also found the advertising in breach of
Rule 15.5.2.
Breaches of these rules are potentially serious because they may result in consumer
harm. Ofcom puts Psychic TV on notice that should similar compliance issues arise,
it will be likely to consider the imposition of statutory sanctions.
Breaches of Rules 15.5.2 and 15.5.3
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
25-07-2011, 07:42 PM
Post: #2
RE: LETS FIGHT TO KEEP PSYCHIC TV CHANNELS
There are now 2 complaints upheld and I ask how long before they get serious and consider closing the channels down. I DO NOT WANT THIS.... I WANT THE CHANNELS TO STAY AND GROW.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
26-07-2011, 12:26 PM
Post: #3
RE: LETS FIGHT TO KEEP PSYCHIC TV CHANNELS
When I have looked at the Bulletins from OfCom, there are always a number of complaints, from a variety of TV show!

However, has there been a specific threat made to revoke the broadcasting licence of Psychic Interactive or Psychic First! If not, is less a fight and more so educating those that have the power to revoke that licence?

On another note, do you think this may have contributed to Debbie leaving the show? If it is, then it's a shame!
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
29-07-2011, 03:01 PM
Post: #4
RE: LETS FIGHT TO KEEP PSYCHIC TV CHANNELS
I agree, but OFCOM warn in both their reports of serious sanctions... so I take this seriously even if the TV stations do not. I guess it starts with fines they can afford to pay but I expect it would be close down if they took the pee to many more times after that..

The reason I posted this at all is so we could chat about the problems and see if we can come up with a lobby for common sense. I do not want to lose my job right now and people do like the shows. There is a load of delusion though.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
29-07-2011, 04:15 PM
Post: #5
RE: LETS FIGHT TO KEEP PSYCHIC TV CHANNELS
I would not know about moving threads lol I feel what helps is that two things need to be done. First not play into OFCOM hands by flagrant breaches of the rules as they are at the moment. At the same time propose what the rules should include as allowed. OFCOM excluded all forms of psychic / occult with the exception of Astrology and Tarot and derivatives of Tarot. What the F derivatives are God only knows. We assume that card readings are allowed on our channel along with astrology.

Crystal Balls Pendulums all things like that they say are strictly outlawed under the rules. It will be interesting to see what else they come out against. For example will they treat Meditation as Hypnosis? Or stand up with no cards as Medium-ship? We banned all that from our channel for the time beings as OFCOM seems to prohibit all that too. The difficulty then is to make the shows interesting enough for people to stay watching. Good debate on here will certainly help as this can be shown to the regulators at some date.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
30-07-2011, 08:31 AM
Post: #6
RE: LETS FIGHT TO KEEP PSYCHIC TV CHANNELS
Dont see why the use of "props" on the shows should be forbidden


(29-07-2011 06:20 PM)Muffins Wrote:  Thats all really informative. Firstly should we take things back to basic?

What is the psychic world? In my opinion, it an interest people have on an area/topic, and there are people who can deliver in these areas/topics?

So, how would that for instance be different to a sports channel? People have an interest in sport and there are people who have the necessary skills to perform the sport.

There are many restrictions for psychics/mediums, but what TV restrictions are in place on sportsmen playing games?

All I am trying to demonstrate here is that people have interests in different things and other people have the skills to perform the interests. Why then, would Ofcom have a view against the psychic world and not the sport world?

Is it that they:
1) don't believe (they don't have to, there are no restrictions on what sports preferences people should have, what religions they should be part of, what politics they should follow)
2) don't have an interest (not their place to choose or restrict our interests)
3) think its crazy (falls into don't believe, but they shouldn't restrict others belief system due to their own, it is a free society)
4) dangerous? (why is it dangerous? Can't sports people get threatening injuries playing rugby, darts, wrestling, tennis?)

This is just a start to get a little chat going on this. Then maybe get to the finer points Smile
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 


Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)