These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Advertising Standards Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
The Adult Channel – TEXT
Complaint from: 1 competitor
Unencrypted text advertising on The Adult Channel, an adult subscription service, advertised adult premium rate telephone services and contained strong sexual references.
A competitor channel raised a number of issues in relation to the ITC Advertising Standards Code:
1. that advertisements for adult premium rate telephone services should not be advertised on unencrypted channels;
2. that the services used prefixes other than 0909, and others which were against the ICSTIS (Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services) Code of Practice (the ITC requires that services advertising must comply with this);
3. that some of the language used in the text advertising was unacceptable.
The ITC reported a similar case in Bulletin 15, where it explained in more detail the relevant rules in its Advertising Standards Code.
1. The Adult Channel explained that the pages had been designed for showing only after 10pm on an encrypted service. The text service was normally switched off when the channel was broadcast unencrypted but due to an error on that occasion had been switched on. The channel apologised for the error and had taken steps to ensure that it would not occur again.
2. The ITC accepted that some adult premium rate services used prefixes other than 0909. Advertising for them was subject to the same code rules as advertisements for services using 0909 prefixes. In this case, the advertising should have been encrypted but was not. The examples of prefixes that appeared not to be covered by ICSTIS were passed to Oftel for investigation.
3. The ITC agreed that the language used in the advertising was in line with that used on encrypted channels, although it had been shown unencrypted in error on this occasion.
The ITC upheld the complaint on all three points as material suitable only on encrypted channels had been shown unencrypted.
Complaint upheld. Breach of ITC Code Rules 3.1(h), 6.1 and 11.1.2