Ofcom slams MTV for excessive ad output

MTV Networks Europe has fallen foul of media regulator Ofcom for showing too much advertising on its portfolio of channels. The broadcaster has been warned that it will face regulatory action of the problems continue.

Ofcom has already formally recorded a breach of section 1.2 of its Rules on the Amount and Distribution of Advertising (RADA), which stipulates that no more than 12 minutes of advertising should air in any one clock hour.

The breaches came to light during a review of advertising minutage monitoring reports. Between June 25 and September 2 last year, a number of breaches occurred on channels, including MTV, MTV Dance, MTV Base and VH-1. Ofcom has found that on nine occasions the apparent excess was 15 seconds or less but on six occasions it was four or more minutes and in one case eight minutes.

MTV Networks Europe says the three incidents were caused by mistakes during the implementation of a new computerised advertising airtime booking system. New procedures and training have been put in place.

MTV blamed the other incidents on programming either over or under-running, pushing or pulling ad breaks in to the following or preceding hours. The broadcaster is introducing measures including more precise programme times and the introduction of “buffer zones” around the top of each hour and avoiding scheduling ad breaks close to this point.

Ofcom noted that the majority of excesses were the result of “slippage” and overall daily minutage appeared to be within RADA limits. However, because of the “significant excess” in a number of cases and despite “assurances”, errors had continued to occur and the media regulator has formally recorded a reach of RADA 1.2.

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