Colors & Star Plus in breach over sponsorship breach

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Colors rapped by Ofcom
Colors rapped by Ofcom

Colors and Star Plus have been rapped by UK media regulator Ofcom for two separate breaches involving sponsorship.

Firstly, a complaint was made against Colors during an episode of ‘Sanskaar – Dharohar Apnon Ki’ after it aired a sponsorship of ‘Lycamobile; call the world for less’. Ofcom said that sponsorship credits must be distinct from advertising. Furthermore, in this case, Ofcom considered that the sponsor�۪s tagline ���call the world for less�۝ was a claim that the sponsor�۪s communication services were less expensive than those of other international call providers. Consequently, Ofcom considered it represented an advertising claim. As such, the sponsorship credit was in breach of
Rule 9.22(a). Viacom18 has put on notice due to this breach.

Star Plus rapped by Ofcom
Star Plus rapped by Ofcom

Similarly, Star Plus was in breach of not giving clear indication of sponsorship during an episode of ‘SaraswatiChandra’. The programme sponsorship arrangements were identified before the start and end of the programme with static cards bearing the name of each sponsor and a voiceover describing the sponsorship arrangement. However, when the cards were transmitted as the programme entered and came out of internal advertising breaks, no reference to the sponsorship arrangement was included.

Star TV confirmed that the static cards were sponsorship credits and apologised for not having fully understood the sponsorship requirements. Star TV said it was ���now in the process of putting a text across all the static cards stating ��This programme is sponsored by�۪�۝. On receipt of our Preliminary View in this case, the Licensee confirmed that it had ���successfully activated�۝ the sponsorship message stating ���This programme is sponsored by�۝ on all such credits.

Two other broadcasters were found in breach of sponsorship errors. ‘Azan-E-Asr’ on CHSTV in August, was put under the scanner by the media regulator for sponsorship during 12 occasions of the programme. Brief visual sponsorship credits were broadcast in the left hand area of the screen. Broadcasters are prohibited to display sponsorship messages during programming airtime unless signaled with Product Placement logos (not in this case). It was also in breach for sponsorship of a religious programme, which the channel disputed. Although sponsorship credits may be broadcast before and/or after religious programmes, Rule 9.23 prohibits them from being shown during such programmes.

On NTV, an episode of ‘Adhan-e-Isha’ aired in August was in breach of sponsorship messages during programming airtime. As noted in Section Nine of the Code, any reference to a sponsor that appears in a sponsored programme (with the exception of sponsorship credits around a programme), as a result of a commercial arrangement with the broadcaster, the programme maker or a connected person, will be treated as product placement.

The channel was rapped by the regulator for broadcasting sponsorship credits during a religious programme without any Product Placement logos. It was also in breach for sponsorship of a religious programme, which the channel disputed. Although sponsorship credits may be broadcast before and/or after religious programmes, Rule 9.23 prohibits them from being shown during such programmes.

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