Channel 4 has been fined £1.5 million by Ofcom for misconduct involving phone-in competitions on its TV shows Richard And Judy and Deal Or No Deal.

Viewers watching Richard And Judy were encouraged to call a premium-rate number AFTER winners had already been chosen.

Deal Or No Deal selected competition finalists in a way which gave later entrants less chance of winning.

Eckoh UK, the company behind Richard And Judy competition You Say, We Pay, has already been fined £150,000.

Channel 4 has been ordered to broadcast a summary of media watchdog Ofcom’s findings on three separate occasions.

The incident relates to a period which began on 28 August 2006 and ended on 13 May 2007.

Following press reports about the conduct of TV phone-in competitions in the spring, Channel 4 launched an independent investigation which found that the Deal Or No Deal competition during this period was unfair.

Channel 4 was informed of the findings in March 2007 – but Deal Or No Deal still used the practice of ‘staggered selection’ for a further seven weeks.

Ofcom believed that this selection process meant that viewers entering the competition were not given a fair and equal chance of winning.

iTouch, the company that ran the competition during the period in question, was fined £30,000 in July by PhonepayPlus, the phone-in competitions watchdog.