ARY QTV and Channel I have both been rapped by Ofcom for exceeding commercial airtime in one clock hour.
On ARY QTV in October 2011, Ofcom received a complaint about advertising scrolling across the bottom of the image seen on screen. Such advertising is permitted in television programmes providing it is kept distinct from editorial content.
After reviewing this output, Ofcom noted that ARY QTV exceeded this allowance and broadcast 52 minutes and 18 seconds of advertising in a clock hour.
ARY QTV confirmed that the advertising had appeared and apologised for this error. ARY QTV said its regular practice is to obscure the scrolling advertising text which originates from the original feed of this material in Pakistan. However, ARY QTV said that due to a technical failure this was not possible.
Ofcom was particularly concerned by how significantly ARY QTV exceeded the maximum allowance permitted, with the advertising comprising almost the entire clock hour. Although this was the result of a technical problem which has since been rectified, this was a serious breach and Ofcom does not expect similar issues to arise in the future, or further regulatory action may be considered.
On Channel I, Ofcom received a complaint about excessive advertising during three occassions in September and October 2011. After reviewing this output, Ofcom noted that in the three clock hours outlined above, Channel I exceeded the allowance permitted by COSTA by broadcasting 23:51, 25:21 and 20:44 minutes of advertising in these three clock hours respectively.
Channel I assured Ofcom the errors highlighted were not committed deliberately, nor was there any financial benefit from the excess advertising.
Ofcom was concerned by how far Channel I had exceeded the maximum allowance permitted, especially in the 21:00 clock hour on 1st October, which had a substantial overrun of 13 minutes and 21 seconds. The preparation of live programming should not distract any broadcaster from its compliance with COSTA or any other regulatory obligation. Given the compliance measures Channel I has committed to implement, Ofcom does not expect any recurrence of such issues.