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ITV escapes World Cup blackout rap

ITV has escaped censure for an incident which resulted in more than a million viewers missing England's opening goal at the World Cup.

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom received 823 complaints about the June gaffe on ITV's high-definition service ITV1 HD.

The channel left 1.5 million viewers angry when it switched to a Hyundai advert followed by a blank screen as Steven Gerrard scored in the fourth minute against the USA.

Ofcom's ruling revealed that the incident was caused by someone activating the wrong button or trigger in the "control room" at transmission provider Technicolor.

Ofcom said several viewers complained that they had paid subscriptions or bought expensive HD televisions to watch the World Cup.

ITV said that it "deeply regretted" the "unfortunate" incident and had publicly apologised. It had hired consultants to review its procedures and said it would be introducing extra precautions.

Ofcom said the unscheduled break "at a crucial point of the game" was "understandably disruptive".

But it said: "Ofcom notes ITV's acknowledgement of this error and that during half-time coverage of the match, an apology was broadcast to viewers by presenter Adrian Chiles.

"Ofcom is also aware that following the match, both ITV and (transmission provider) Technicolor apologised for the incident.

"Ofcom accepts that the incident was an unfortunate error and ITV made no commercial gain from it."

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