Popular Indian news channel, ABP News has been rapped by Ofcom for exceeding commercial airtime on 32 different occasions between February and March this year.
As part of Ofcom regulations, time devoted to television advertising and teleshopping spots on any channel in any one hour must not exceed 12 minutes. However, during general monitoring, Ofcom noted that there were 32 instances when the channel exceeded the maximum allowance per clock hour. The overruns in the affected clock hours ranged from six seconds to one minute and five seconds.
ABP News apologised for this error which it said was inadvertent and purely unintentional. The Licensee said it never intended to exceed the 12 minute advertising allowance. MCCS explained that the issue was largely due to the last advertisement break [towards the end] of the clock hour spilling on to the next hour, resulting in the next clock hour exceeding the permitted allowance. The Licensee added that sometimes exigencies of the news content push this last commercial break causing such incidents.
ABP News said that it is still evolving and working on its scheduling and compliance processes to ensure that it is in sync with the Ofcom guidelines. The Licensee added that it has made changes to its compliance procedures to ensure this issue does not occur again, specifically by concluding the news bulletin in time to prevent the advertising breaks from overrunning into the next clock hour.
Ofcom noted the Licensee۪s explanation for its error and its assurance that new procedures would improve future compliance. Nevertheless, we considered that the Licensee۪s processes should have anticipated that, on a 24-hour news service, there would be numerous occasions when it would have to balance the editorial requirements of live broadcasting with its obligation to comply with the rules.
Because it had not done so, and allowed advertising scheduled in one clock hour to be broadcast in the following clock hour, the channel exceeded its permitted advertising allowance on 32 occasions in 16 days.