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3rd June 2010
Ofcom revises regulations on advertising of premium rate numbers for
adult and psychic PTV services
- changes follow AIME lobbying
Following two years of lobbying the Association of Interactive Media and Entertainment (AIME) welcomes today's ‘Participation TV Part 3 (PTV3)’ statement by communications regulator, Ofcom. The statement outlines the revised regulations on the advertising of premium rate phone participation on TV, specifically around adult and psychic content.
Such PTV services were recently classified by Ofcom as teleshopping and governed by a more stringent set of rules proposed by the ASA’s Broadcast Committee for Advertising Practice (BCAP), which would have over-restricted the psychic and adult PTV industries around how their services are advertised.
AIME research into other European markets demonstrated that less intrusive regulation in markets such as Germany, where there is also a low level of complaint, has grown the interactive psychic market to around £200m per annum. The UK market for psychic PTV services has been limited to £3m per annum.
In response to the proposed rules, AIME set up an industry group to explore the impact and present its concerns and findings to Ofcom.
AIME, with its members, proposed the following:
- The relaxing of proposals to restrict broadcast of Psychic content to the ‘Specialist’ section of the Electronic Programme Guide
- That OFCOM should allow simulcasting of Live Psychic content to other entertainment channels
- That there should be a more clear definition of the term occult, with AIME suggesting a new definition of ‘psychic entertainment services’
- As in other EEC countries, that OFCOM should allow long form advertising in teleshopping windows, subject to certain additional controls being in place.
In its statement Ofcom has revised its stance and now supports AIME’s view that regulation around such services should be proportionate, as there is NO evidence of moral harm caused by such services for example.
Under the revised changes to the Advertising Code, there is no requirement for psychic services to be restricted to the Specialist section of the EPG, allowing simulcasts on other channels; and that adult services will be able to broadcast on Freeview subject to a revised programme guide and a midnight watershed. Also DTT operators such as Freeview are now actively considering how they implement categorisation of the EPG and “bookending” for other forms of content to be aired such as adult.
AIME welcomed a specific proposal in OFCOM’s PTV3 consultation that certain psychic services could be exempted from BCAP’s advertising controls, provided they were subject to a prior licence.
Adam Maxted, AIME Board Member and Chair of the AIME sub-committee on PTV3 stated:
“We are delighted that despite earlier regulatory plans to continue to severely restrict viewers access and enjoyment of psychic and adult content to TV subscription channels only, that Ofcom has responded positively to AIME and its members submissions and that our requests for proportionate legislation compared to the real consumer risks of harm and abuse have been heard. We are also pleased that this new legislation is more in line with other EEC markets, which should encourage more inward investment and confidence in this area for our members. Ofcom’s statement and revised Code clarifies what constitutes Editorial Programming and Teleshopping and the specific provisions for the advertising of live psychic entertainment services now offer clearer guidance and it also provides the industry with a solid foundation to develop new and appealing services for viewers and will enable this popular industry segment to grow”.
AIME (www.aimelink.org) is a UK based membership organisation representing and promoting the commercial interests of the interactive media and entertainment industry – where customers use their phones, televisions or computers to access, interact and pay for information, marketing or entertainment services using leading edge micropayment technology.
AIME's membership represents the entire value chain – from the providers of end user content to the networks and technical services that deliver and bill them to customers. No other organisation can offer such opportunities for profitable contacts, networking and supporting information. By setting industry best practice standards, AIME builds solid and lasting relationships with legislators, regulators and stakeholders to ensure our members’ business is professionally represented and given every opportunity to grow.
For further details contact Zoe Patterson, General Manager, AIME