ACMA Conducts Investigation into Breaches of Children’s Television Standards by TV Networks

Canberra, Australia ( December 23, 2010

ACMA Conducts Investigation into Breaches of Children’s Television Standards by TV Networks

ACMA Conducts Investigation into Breaches of Children’s Television Standards by TV Networks

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found that three Network TEN stations and Channel Seven Brisbane breached the Children’s Television Standards by broadcasting a Streets Paddle Pop Lick-A-Prize advertisement multiple times in children’s programs.

An ACMA investigation concluded that all four stations had breached the provisions restricting the repetition of advertising in a children’s ‘C’ program period.

‘The Children’s Television Standards play an important role in protecting children during times that specifically cater for them,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

The investigation also raised issues about the correct interpretation of competitions and premiums, and whether they should be treated as completely separate requirements. The ACMA considers that the offer of a chance to win prizes by purchasing a product or service may be both a competition and also a premium offer.

It also concluded that in this advertisement, the chance to win prizes being offered with the purchase of Paddle Pops was a premium offer. Premium offers in advertisements broadcast during children’s C classified programs must be merely incidental to the advertised product or service. The ACMA concluded that the reference to the competition in this Paddle Pops advertisement broadcast during a children’s program was more than merely incidental.

However, in the circumstances of this investigation, the ACMA considers that it is not appropriate on this occasion to record breach findings in relation to the use of premium offers, because broadcasters should first have the benefit of the outcomes from this investigation to allow them to put in place appropriate processes and systems to better ensure future compliance.

The ACMA also found Network TEN Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth breached CTS 16 of the Children’s Television Standards 2005 by broadcasting the advertisement more than twice within a 30 minute C period. A new version of the standards was determined in 2009 and Channel Seven Brisbane twice breached CTS 29 of those standards by broadcasting the same advertisement three times within 30 minutes in a C period.

In response to these breach findings, the licensees have undertaken a range of measures including training sessions for their staff and implementing procedures to ensure future compliance.

More generally, Free TV Australia and other key stakeholders have been advised of the key findings of this investigation and importantly the ACMA’s interpretation for future compliance in relation to the use of premiums in advertising to children. The ACMA will also be updating its Guide to the CTS to reflect the fact that a competition can also be a premium offer.

The Investigation Reports 2378, 2381, 2382, 2383 and 2384 and 2379, 2385, 2386, 2387 and 2388 are available on the ACMA website.

The ACMA’s Children Television Standards 2009 and Guidance notes are also available on ACMA website.

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