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Telewest investigates £5m commissions paid out by IDS

LONDON – IDS, the ad sales house for Telewest's Flextech channels, is being investigated by cable operator's audit commitee for paying £5m worth of commissions to media buyers.

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IDS is understood to have paid up to £5m in commission to media buyers without Telewest's knowledge. Normal business practices stipulate that media buyers buy space on TV channels for clients and broadcasters do not pay commissions in exchange.

In a statement released yesterday, Telewest confirmed its audit committee is launching an independent review of "certain business practices" after findings from senior management were brought to the committee's attention.

Telewest did not believe there would be a "material impact" on the company's financial statements.

Telewest provides multichannel television to 4.7m homes in the UK. Its content division Flextech owns Living TV, Trouble and Bravo. It also partners the BBC in UKTV, which has nine channels including UK Style, UK Food and UK Gold.

IDS is the sales arm for Living TV and UKTV among others. The company won Best Broadcast Sales Team at the Campaign Media Awards last month.

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