Feeds

Ofcom reins in TV psychics and adult chat

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.