back to article Teletext licence holder fined for killing service early

Media watchdog Ofcom has fined Daily Mail & General Trust £225,000 for withdrawing the Teletext TV service prematurely. Ofcom said in a statement that DMGT, which was the holder of the public teletext service licence, had paid for the service to be covered from 2004 to 2014. However, the company - whose half-yearly report is …


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  1. Andrew Moore Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    It's a bad day for the Daily Mail, first they appear clueless about "copyright" and now they appear equally clueless about "contractual obligation"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      And also.........

      Clueless about facts when reporting a story, if only they could switch off the Daily Fail as well !

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        The good thing about DM running Teletext was

        The good thing about the Daily Mail running Teletext was the tiny on-screen character limit for each page meant that they did not have room on each page to print quite nearly as much bollox as in their papers!

        If they made their web site and physical publications 40 by 24 characters they'd probably be better for it as you cant fit in so many lies into that sort of space.

    2. Trygve

      I think they understand 'contractual obligation' just fine.

      It means "theoretical concept not enforced by UK regulators if it inconveniences anyone important".

      If you want to check entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Political English its between "back-room deal" and "nod and wink", with cross-references to "if it was anyone else..." and "going through the motions".

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Wow. Ofcom reacting to abuse of licence?

    Maybe they could now do something about the "local" commercial radio stations which have been replaced by Heart clones, which are now in contravention of their licence terms re local content (in spirit if not in letter).

    If Ofcom have got more than one employee perhaps the other one could do something about the "national" fixed wireless broadband licences which after the initial auction changed hands again and all ended up with an outfit then called PCCW, branding its service "Netvigator" or "Now Broadband" or some such. "Never heard from again Broadband" might have been more accurate.

  3. Annihilator
    Thumb Down

    Good and bad

    Although I want to send a big "HA!" towards the Mail, I have to question the point of a fine that turns out to be financially advantageous. That's like making the punishment for selling cocaine a 50p fine - game on.

  4. Chris Dickens

    A lot more...

    What good is a fine if it's the "best option" commercially?

    Either fine them more than it would have cost to keep the service up or force them to keep to their contract. It's supposed to be a punishment to stop companies from cutting services...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Daily Mail is basically saying...

      ..."Look, Teletext is dead either way. Either we cut it off and you fine us, or it keeps dragging us bugger all into oblivion, at which point Teletext ceases anyway." Teletext to them is like an arm trapped under a boulder. Better to cut it off and endure the pain than to let it bleed the life out of you.

  5. Alastair Dodd 1
    Jobs Horns

    Little more than a slap on the wrist

    quite pitiful and still cheaper than the probable costs of running it for 4 years.

  6. paulf Silver badge

    I, for one, welcome

    the shuttering of another mouth piece of the Daily Fascist. Doesn't matter if anyone was watching it or not. If only the fine had been higher, perhaps closer to the cost of running the service to 2014.

    Can we get on with closing The Daily Fascist itself. Oh and The Fascist on Sunday too. Oh right - apparently rabble rousing phobic 'news' with an extended remix of oncology today is sadly profitable :(

    /me laments the loss of ORACLE in 1992.

    1. paulf Silver badge

      And another thing

      I've been thinking about that name - "The Fascist on Sunday".

      It just conjures up an image of Herr Hitler, in dressing gown and slippers, perhaps smoking a pipe, relaxing on a Sunday morning in the lounge, reading "The Fascist on Sunday", while enjoying a nice cup of tea. The headline on the front is along the lines of "Now, Gypsies cause cancer too!"

      "...on Sunday" makes it sound warm and cuddly and ever so Middle England, but its still Evil to the core.

      I guess mine is the one with the Grauniad in it.

  7. Anonymous John

    Does anyone still use it?

    The TV I bought two years or so ago has a Teletext decoder, but the remote that came with it doesn't support it.

    The manual is written in every known language (and a few unknown ones) and covers several models, so I don't know if this was intended.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Yes, Teletext is still useful (just)

      I have an aging teletext receiver that was originally for a RISC OS machine. I wrote some code to bit-bash IIC on the parallel port so I could put some Windows software together. Before I had Internet at home (see those OAPs that BT wants to charge £150000? I live in a place like that) I used teletext as my time sync (and lament the BBC not bothering with the TSDP on satellite broadcasts). I also used to run a little script to tune into BBC World (19.2E) and pull all of the news stories, strip the formatting, and build a textfile. I'd leave that running while I made tea, etc. It was, in the end, a fair bit quicker (for me) than wading around red button services. I could also have up to the minute stats for things, like a thing that sat on the system tray and would let me convert, accurately, dollars and euros and pounds and yen. The data originally came from CNN, but then I took it from RAI Uno (couldn't find currency on CNBC which seemed the logical place to look!).

      Granted, it is now somewhat easier to Google for "100 gbp in eur" and a result will appear instantly.

      Actually, I lie slightly. I have two digital PVRs and perhaps my biggest lament of all is many channels still broadcast teletext, for p888 subtitles. It is a real shame that none of this fancy MPEG4 technology is able to pull data from the VBI to construct a subtitling stream "on the fly". I can't believe, in 2010, video recording for subs is still "none" or "burn it in". Just like it was in the eighties.

      Teletext will die. Soon. That is obvious. But it will be fondly remembered as the granddaddy of all these "interactive" services, and between you and me I think teletext, for its age and resolution and clumsiness, is still the better option. The only thing red button does which is awesome is video selections (like switching to Eurovision with lyrics, or multiple sports programmes), but you'll find most of that doesn't work on a Freesat box and if you scan for the BBC streams, you can just add them as another channel and switch to them *faster* than using the red button (note - not on Sky/Freesat, the channels are blocked on those receivers).

      Teletext. <sigh> Fond memories. I once wrote a tetris game using MODE 7 (teletext) on a BBC micro. It was 'interesting' when the colour attributes clashed! :-)

  8. Llanfair

    Not good enough

    I am glad that Daily Fail was fined, however, the fine should have been much more. A fine is supposed to be a punishment rather than a quick way out. It should have been at least three quarters of what it would have cost to run till the end of the contract, preferably more than what it would have cost. Remember they got this contract because they managed outbid others and have thus not given them the opportunity to have a go.

  9. D 13

    @Paulf - Sorry..........

    but you seem to have Godwined prematurely.

    1. paulf Silver badge

      I've just learnt something!

      Didn't even know that was a concept - nor that wikipedia would have such an in depth article on it!

      But lets face it - when talking about the Daily Fail, and considering all its huggable fascist hatefulness - committing a Godwin is really just avoiding prevarication and cutting to the chase; so its pretty forgivable IMO 0:)

  10. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Um... So how come they are still on air?

    Teletext Holidays, telextext rabbit etc.

    What use is a fine if they allow them to still run the teletext services they want to?

  11. Andy Livingstone

    Info for ITV advertisers

    Without Teletext I don't bother watching ITV. Teletext was the only thing having it on for.

  12. John 62

    I stopped reading

    when Paul Rose left Digitiser.

    Mr Biffo, Beat-box snakes, Morse & Lewis, Man with the big chin and the low score for a 4th FIFA game in 12 months (must have been world cup year, prob 98) were all high-lights of my sad, tramp-like and gin-soaked life. Do you see! (plus Violet Berlin's occasional columns were good)


    Bamboozle was good for a while, too, dear.

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