Company paid TV network to air news programme that promoted sponsors

The London television company at the centre of a scandal which is under investigation by Ofcom was allegedly paying a global television network to broadcast a flagship news programme on which it featured commercial clients, such as the dictators of Kazakhstan and Egypt.

CNBC, the business arm of the giant American network NBC, allowed the company, FBC, to produce its supposed flagship editorial programme World Business for more than six years until it suspended the show this summer following revelations by The Independent that FBC was being paid millions of pounds a year by Malaysia to promote its national interest. The BBC was also taking editorial programmes from FBC.

In its annual report for 2005, FBC said of World Business: "The programme is now produced in the UK, without direct broadcaster funding. As from the current financial year, the business plan envisages that the show will be profitable thanks primarily to the sale of sponsorship. The costs incurred in the period on the show, for a net total of €1,114,000, have therefore been treated as an investment."

Sources from FBC, which is in the hands of an administrator, have told The Independent that the company was paying a monthly cheque to CNBC in order that World Business would be broadcast. FBC used the platform of World Business to give coverage to commercial clients such as Microsoft, American Express, Manpower and Hewlett Packard, according to the company's own files.

World Business was broadcast by CNBC Europe in the UK and shown by PBS in America and News Corp's Star World in Asia. A written FBC presentation on World Business, obtained by The Independent, made no secret of its commercial value to the company, offering clients "customised content" on World Business.

"FBC will create and produce a customised weekly 3-4 minute feature in World Business in line with a client's specific communications requirement," it states. "We can create one-off packaged stories or we can create a series of stories that reflect the values or the essence of a client's business strategy. Our editorial team will work with clients to ensure the content remains entertaining and engaging." The pitch added: "Brands can sponsor the show or invest in the creation of news segments that become part of the show."

Sources at FBC told The Independent that the company was paying $100,000 a month to CNBC for the right to broadcast World Business. When it was put to CNBC that it had received millions of dollars for broadcasting the programme, a spokesperson said: "FBC produced World Business for CNBC and other outlets. FBC was contractually obligated to produce Ofcom-compliant programmes. After questions were raised CNBC immediately suspended airing of World Business and launched an internal investigation. CNBC has since served notice to FBC to terminate its agreement with the company. We are presently liaising with Ofcom to ensure that all relevant information is provided."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee