Media regulator, Ofcom has rapped Sony SAB TV for exceeding commercial airtime on five different occasions between July and September last year.

Ofcom rules and regulations state that time devoted to television advertising and teleshopping spots on any channel in any one hour must not exceed 12 minutes. Ofcom noted that there were five instances when this channel exceeded the maximum allowance for advertising in any clock hour. The overruns in the affected hours ranged from 55 seconds to four minutes and five seconds.

Sony SAB TV said that under no circumstances have extra commercial[s] been booked or ordered۝. However, after investigating the issue the Licensee confirmed that the amount of advertising broadcast had exceeded 12 minutes on each of these five occasions and that the incidents were related to the broadcast of films on the channel. As a result, the broadcaster said more compliance checks were being undertaken to ensure advertising breaks in one clock hour did not overlap with the next clock hour. This included the implementation of additional software checks to monitor advertising minutage for each clock hour to highlight any overruns prompting corrective action before playout.۝ In addition, the Licensee submitted that the channel۪s internal logging of advertising was being investigated by the parent company in India to ensure its records were accurate.

Ofcom was concerned that Sony SAB TV’s compliance procedures had not taken account of the potential impact of late programme delivery, editorial decisions or technical formatting on the amount of advertising actually broadcast in individual clock hours. We were also concerned that, when we initially approached the Licensee for information about the instances considered in this case, it had sought to defend its position on the basis of inaccurate transmission data. It is evident that its approach to complying with the rules set out in the advertising code was for some time inadequate.

The broadcaster was found in breach.