Sunrise TV has once again landed in trouble with Ofcom, this time around for advertising a service during programming airtime.
The incident took place last July when a viewer complained that Sunrise TV show Kundli Aur Kismat۪ invited viewers to ring the programme on a 0845 number and were instructed to pay 30 by debit or credit card to receive a reading. The programme had said nothing about the charge.
Sunrise TV acknowledged that in order to participate in the show callers were required to pay a charge, but it was not aware that the Ofcom Code prohibits this practice. The broadcaster said that callers were not obliged in any way to accept the charge and if they did they were guaranteed to participate.
Also, Ofcom noted that the 0845 number had been publicised heavily throughout the show, plus it also had mentioned that the phone calls were also being taken off-air after the show had finished (at 17:00).
The broadcaster stressed that as ‘Kundli Aur Kismat’ is an interactive programme “trailing the contact details in an integral part of that”. That viewers were encouraged to call for an hour following the show was, Sunrise TV told us, a means of creating programme material for the next broadcast: “the gist of the topics raised in such readings is often used as an initial discussion topic in the following show”.
Ofcom took into account that viewers could receive readings off-air, and indeed were encouraged to call for readings for an hour after the programme had finished. As such, Ofcom concluded that the programme promoted a commercial service, and was therefore in breach.
Further, Ofcom judged that the extent of the encouragement to call and the availability of the service outside of the programme amounted to the advertising of a service in programming. The programme was therefore also in breach.