Digital channel Bangla TV has had a severe telling off by media regulator Ofcom for scrolling adverts during two separate shows.
A viewer complained about the advertising scroll, which aired during ‘Looking for the Actual Person’ on 10th May 2007.
A part of the code of conduct, the regulator requires broadcasters to, “ensure that the advertising and programme elements of a service are kept separate”. Rules on the Amount and Distribution of Advertising (RADA) states that, “in any one clock hour there must be no more than 12 minutes of advertising spots and/or teleshopping spots”.
Ofcom sought a recording of Bangla TV۪s output for 10th May 2007 between 16:00 and 17:00, which showed that the bar was scrolling in other programmes. During this hour there were also two advertising breaks of approximately six minutes each.
Bangla TV said the scrolled advertisements were broadcast by mistake, due to human error, and it had taken steps to ensure no scrolled advertising would in future be featured “during the news hour”.
However, Bangla TV believed that the duration of its advertising breaks between 16:00 and 17:00 on 10th May 2007 complied with Ofcom۪s requirements. It added that the remaining promotional material broadcast in that same period comprised only trails of future Bangla TV output.
Ofcom said the material in question included two commercial breaks, which totaled 12 minutes of advertisements. However, the scrolled information screened in the same hour also contained a significant quantity of advertising. Bangla TV۪s output therefore exceeded the total amount of advertising minutage permitted in any one hour.
Ofcom permits TV channels to scroll editorial information during programming time, however in this instance a combination of editorial and advertising was featured, going against Ofcom rules and regulations.
Furthermore, to Ofcom’s surprise, Bangla TV was in breach again two months later. On 16th July, Ofcom sampled the channel’s output to discover another drama (Jyoti), throughout which a mix of news and advertising was scrolled.
In response, Bangla TV apologised but again claimed to have broadcast the scrolled material in error. Ofcom found the hour of output provided was similar to the previous material and had considered this as breach of the Code for similar reasons.
Bangla TV apologised again for its errors in compliance, and outlined staffing changes and a detailed, regular and ongoing training schedule that it had put in place to ensure much greater awareness of Ofcom۪s Code requirements among all Bangla TV۪s editorial, marketing and transmission staff.
While Ofcom considers the broadcaster is making efforts to ensure future compliance, it has taken note of Bangla TV۪s compliance failures as serious, especially given its repeated breaches. Ofcom will consider taking further regulatory action in the event of any future Code breach.