Jan de Wit, a Socialist Party member of the Dutch lower house, has lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that the music television broadcaster, TMF, a subsidiary of MTV Networks, committed fraud during its TMF Awards ceremony broadcast earlier this month. At the start of the broadcast, viewers were invited to vote - through an SMS message at 70 eurocents a pop - for their choice of Artist of the Decade. However, it has transpired that that even before the voting began, the winner - Dutch singer Marco Borsato - had already been selected and made known to the press, with the understanding that this information would be held in confidence until after the winner was formally announced.
Unfortunately, Dutch news bureau ANP accidentally released the information soon after the broadcast started. Nevertheless, viewers were still asked repeatedly to vote…
According to Mr De Wit, this was a breach of the Dutch Gaming Law.
Voters, largely young people, were tricked out of tens of thousand euros. This is unacceptable,
he said. A TMF spokesperson refuted this claim, saying that 'only several thousand voters sent in an SMS vote on that evening…[There is] no question therefore of thousands of euros [being earned].” TMF really needs some crazy communication crisis specialist to get out of this. Of, course denying is a good strategy. However, they did admited making a mistake: Marco Borsato was announced as the winner before the voting by sms ended. The single mistake…right then. What about the manipulation and the sms scam? Reacting to the police investigation, TMF said,
This is a storm in a teacup.
Of course it is. And the teacup is as small as Holland.