ITV has been hit with a record £5.68 million fine by Ofcom over premium rate phone-in scandals.

Ofcom said the penalty ‘reflects not only the seriousness of ITV’s failures but also their repeated nature’.

The regulator investigated after a report found ‘serious editorial issues’ within three ITV programmes. ITV could’ve been fined up to £70 million – 5 per cent of its commercial revenue. It made £7.8 million from uncounted votes and some 10 million telephone calls were affected.

Independant auditor Deloitte were called in by ITV to investigate its programmes. Their findings were published in October and it found in Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, entrants for the Jiggy Bank competition weren’t chosen at random, but selected if they lived within an hour of a chosen location and would make good TV.

In Ant and Dec’s Gameshow Marathon, the ‘Prize Mountain’ winner wasn’t chosen randomly, but selected if researchers thought they sounded ‘lively’ and would be more entertaining.

In Soapstar Superstar, votes for celebrities to go up for eviction were ignored in favour of the production team’s choice. On some occasions the production team over-rode song choices voted for by viewers. Ant and Dec said they hadn’t been aware of the scandals.

As well as being fined, ITV must broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s findings on six occasions.

Ofcom’s content sanctions committee chairman Philip Graf said: “ITV programme makers totally disregarded their own published terms and conditions and Ofcom Codes.”

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said the investigations ‘uncovered institutionalised failure within ITV that enabled the broadcaster to make money from misconduct on mass audience programmes’.