Star TV’s flagship channel, Star Plus and its movies channel, Star Gold, along with ZEE Network’s lifestyle and music channel, Zing have been rapped for exceeding the allowed commercial time.

Ofcom said the three channels had broadcast in excess of the 12 minutes permitted of advertising in one clock hour.

In Star TV’s case, the broadcaster had alerted Ofcom of four further occasions when it had exceeded 12 minutes of advertising during the infringement period (May – July 2011). It blamed an error with its scheduling software.

Star TV said a new scheduling software system had been introduced at the time when these instances occurred, which failed to ensure that programmes ended at the scheduled time. Star TV explained that “this means the break actually begins later than scheduled, which in turn pushes the following breaks, or in some instances commercials from the same break, into the following clock hour.”

Star TV said it was now introducing additional measures to ensure such instances do not occur again. It also said this included extra staff recruitment to monitor the system on a daily basis and ensure the breaks are going out at the scheduled time, and a new procedure where staff “double-check and confirm the playlist” before it is broadcast. The Licensee said it has already begun these extra checks and “will continue to monitor the daily playlists, while we look at other scheduling software systems to remove this problem entirely.”

For ZEE Network, it was a more serious case as this was the third time the channel had been rapped for exceeding commercial break time.

During monitoring, Ofcom observed that between 18th October and 12th December 2010, there were 28 separate incidents when Zing transmitted more advertising than the permitted allowance of 12 minutes in a single clock hour. Ofcom noted advertising overruns that ranged from five seconds to three minutes and 37 seconds in a single clock hour.

ZEE Network stated that in order to prevent further infringements it had introduced a number of procedures, including monthly break patterns, overbooking alerts sales/scheduling team of overruns, no changes being made once transmission schedule has been finalised, transmission schedule to be checked for advertising minutage by team.

Ofcom will monitor Zing closely and is likely to consider further regulatory action if these additional compliance procedures prove inadequate and this problem recurs.