ONdigital print ads spark BSkyB complaints

The row over ITV’s promotions for digital terrestrial television has spread to poster and print advertising for ONdigital in the increasingly bitter marketing war between rival digital broadcasters.

A complaint from BSkyB about a launch ad for ONdigital, the digital terrestrial service jointly owned by Carlton and Granada, is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority.

According to the ASA, BSkyB has complained about an ad through BMP DDB which says: “no dish, no cable, simply an aerial; the simplest way to get digital TV”.

Chris Reed, external affairs manager for the ASA, says: “BSkyB is saying people have to buy a set-top box and the company therefore objects to the impression that consumers only need an aerial.”

BSkyB also complained about press ads hyping the quality of ONdigital reception.

ONdigital changed the ads without any prompting from the ASA. The ASA is asking ONdigital to include a footnote clarifying that good reception depends on location and the quality of the aerial installation.

BSkyB and Cable & Wireless also complained about an press ad which said consumers could “pick from the best premium sports and movie channels available”. This was changed, and the ASA is now asking ONdigital to make it clear that subscribers to the premium channels may still have to pay additional fees to see some sports events and movies.

The ASA has also received four further complaints from members of the public about ONdigital’s series of ads and has yet to make a decision on whether or not to investigate them.

Last week, the Independent Television Commission ruled that a series of ITV promotions for digital terrestrial television, devised by BMP, must be taken off the screen because the image of a crossed-out satellite dish denigrates rivals. The ITC also ruled the supposedly generic promotions were unacceptable because they referred to ONdigital by name.

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