Thursday, February 11, 2010

Harmful advert fears addressed

Advertisements in on-demand programmes now rated and restricted

CONCERNS ABOUT inappropriate adverts appearing on video-on-demand (VoD) services have been addressed by a newlaw. Providers of these services, such as Channel 4’s 4OD and the ITVPlayer, must nowcomply with the newAudioVisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive that came into force on 19 December 2009. AVMSis the successor to the Television without Frontiers Directive. It imposes the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code) onVoD services. This means that in future the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) can act if viewers complain about an advert. Although VoD adverts don’t have to be cleared in the sameway as those appearing on traditional TVservices (called linear TV), VoD services must abide by certain rules, including banning product placement in all children’s programmes. To ensure that the standards are adhered to, VoD providers including Virgin, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Five began checking adverts on their services before the AVMSbecame law. Clearcast,which monitors the adverts before they have been aired for these companies, said that because of the nature of VoD, timing restrictions currently assigned to linear adverts cannot be carried across. The company said itwould assign levels for providers that will indicatewhether there is violence, nudity, or potential harm or offence in an advert. Level one will be equivalent to advertswhich must not be shown around children’s programmes, level two for those that can’t be shown before 7.30pm, level three adverts can be shown after 9pm, and levels four and five can be shown after 10pm and 11pm respectively. The inclusion of online and on-demand video in the AVMSDirectivewas controversial, as some feared that the European Commissionwas attempting to extend media regulation to thewhole internet; for example user-generated videos, such as those posted on Youtube. Clearcast pointed out that the directive is only applicable to mass market TV-like services. Kristoffer Hammer for Clearcast said: “Any display advertisements or audio-visual ads the viewer will see before selecting aVoD programme will not be covered by the directive.”

Source of Information : Computer Active Issue 310 January 7 2010

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