New Vision TV, the home of ARY World, has been found in breach by Ofcom for not being able to produce recording of its output in March.
Ofcom received a complaint about commercial references in the above broadcast. Ofcom therefore requested a recording of the programme from the Licensee to assess the content. The Licensee responded that at 09:20 on 29th March 2017 New Vision was broadcasting what it described as “test transmissions”. It said that they were “test transmissions” because the service was not available to the public until 10:45 that day.
As a result, New Vision said it could not provide a recording of the programme. Ofcom understood that the channel did not appear on viewers’ Electronic Programme Guides until 10:45 on 29th March 2017. However, it was still possible for viewers to watch the channel before this time (including at 09:20 that day) by manually changing the settings on their satellite receiver. In addition, the licence held by New Vision makes no allowance for ‘test transmissions’ – the Licensee is required to comply with all relevant conditions in its Licence when it is broadcasting a service.
New Vision said that “test transmissions” were carried out “in good faith” and were “in no way an attempt to circumvent [their] licence commitments”. The Licensee stated that once the channel had been “launched”, off-air recording commenced via a third-party provider, however no recordings were made of the “test transmissions”. In addition, while the Licensee said that it could not provide the off-air recording that Ofcom had requested, it did offer to provide the source material (“without the blurs and graphics added for compliance”).
Ofcom took into account that New Vision considered that it was providing “test transmissions” on the morning of 29th March 2017, on the basis that these broadcasts were not available to the public. Ofcom considered that viewers could in fact watch the content broadcast on the channel by changing the settings on their satellite receiver. Furthermore, these broadcasts were being provided under New Vision’s TLCS licence. A TLCS licence makes no allowance for ‘test transmissions’. Licence Condition 11(2) applies to all broadcasts.
The failure by the Licensee to record and provide the material requested by Ofcom prevented us from assessing the relevant broadcast material. Ofcom’s Decision is therefore that the Licensee was in breach of Licence Conditions 11(2)(a) and (b).