The United Kingdom's version of X Factor was criticized this morning by media regulator Ofcom, as it broke British programming regulations by giving "undue prominence" to London's Corinthia Hotel in an episode last season.
The rules state, "No undue prominence may be given in programming to a product, service or trademark." "Undue prominence" in this case includes mentions that have no editorial reason for being there or results in "the manner in which a product, service or trademark appears or is referred to in programming.”
The episode in question aired in October and showed the finalists put up in the hotel. Eight of the 13 finalists commented on the hotel in glowing terms. James Arthur, who won the competition, said, “It's absolutely amazing here!”
The probe found that the ITV was not paid to promote the hotel nor did it have a product placement deal. The deal that was arranged allowed the contestants to stay at the hotel under reduced rates, even though there was not a "guarantee the inclusion of any references to the hotel.”
The ITV defended itself, saying that the hotel and references to it “made up a very small part of the total running time of these introductory [scenes] as a whole, let alone the running time of the program as a whole.”
It is amazing how differently things are done in America as opposed to the United Kingdom. This kind of thing would not even raise eyebrows over here. I think I like how the U.K. does it better.