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BT wins ad watchdog ruling against BSkyB's 'instant movie' claim

All a question of broadband speed, dear boy

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BT successfully argued to the UK's advertising regulator that BSkyB had misled its customers in a press ad that claimed the company's new rental movie service could be accessed "instantly".

The ASA agreed with the national telco, which challenged BSkyB's assertions about the speed at which punters could rent the films via the firm's Sky+ box.

In its ruling, the watchdog said:

We noted that Sky estimated a significant majority of ADSL broadband users would be able to begin watching an average length movie within less than a minute after beginning the download, and we understood that customers with faster fibre optic and cable broadband connections were much more likely to be able to begin viewing within that time frame.

However, we considered that a delay of up to a minute for most customers (and longer for those with slower broadband connections) would not be in line with their reasonable expectations for an online movie service which was described as 'instant'. We therefore considered that the ad had exaggerated the capabilities of the service and we concluded that it was likely to mislead.

The ASA added that BSkyB needed to ensure that future ads did not exaggerate the speed with which customers would able to access movies using Sky Store.

For its part, BSkyB said that the large majority of those customers with ADSL broadband would be able to start watching a movie within a minute of renting the film via the service.

The company "believed consumers understood that services provided over the internet would be affected by the speed of their broadband connection," the ASA said, and added that BSkyB had "pointed out that the small print had emphasised that a 'fast enough broadband connection' was required."

But BSkyB's defence of its ad didn't hold water with the regulator. ®

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