Feeds

Ofcom reins in TV psychics and adult chat

I'm sensing... new rules to ensure separation of editorial and ads

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Ofcom is proposing new rules for TV and radio shows which use premium-rate phone lines to raise revenue, with a view to ensuring that editorial and advertising are kept separate.

The new rules will apply to any show that provides a premium-rate number, even in a peripheral role, and aims to ensure that promotion of the phone service never becomes the sole purpose of the programme. This is particularly obvious with adult-chat services and psychic hotlines, which sometimes feature a host discussing incoming, premium-rated, messages. The UK regulator feels that's an advertisement, and should be subject to advertising rules.

With revenue from TV advertising falling, companies leapt to create programming dependent on premium-rate services. The scramble culminated in the UK edition of Big Brother which was largely self-financing, with the advert breaks being pure profit for Channel 4.

Recent scandals have curtailed that growth but phonelines still provide a significant income, and Ofcom is keen to ensure programmes don't become solely vehicles for promoting them. UK TV has always insisted that programmes mustn't promote products, forcing a generation to use terms such as "sticky tape" in order to avoid mentioning household names on TV, but the slow growth of personal video recorders could eventually make product placement the only way to pay for television programmes.

Until that day Ofcom will be on hand to make sure the ad breaks are long enough to get the kettle on, and don't intrude into our programming. The new rules use terms like "undue prominence" and "primary purpose", which should hold back the tide despite being heavily open to interpretation.

Interested parties can comment on the proposals before 22nd May. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.