From 1 September 2010, the way the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates advertising on TV-like video-on-demand (VOD) services will be changing. The ASA has been designated by Ofcom as the co-regulator for advertising appearing on VOD services.
A new Appendix has been included in the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code), which will apply to aspects of advertisements on VOD services that are subject to statutory regulation. This Appendix contains rules reflecting the new statutory requirements.
The Appendix doesn’t introduce new requirements for VOD advertising: VOD providers are already required, under law, to comply with them and the Appendix doesn’t go beyond the rules that are already in the CAP Code. Adding these requirements to an Appendix of the CAP Code means that the ASA can take action on suspected breaches against the VOD service provider and without the need to refer to Ofcom for legal action.
In practice, very little has changed: advertisements on ATVOD-regulated VOD services are already subject to these requirements under the law and the ASA already considers complaints about VOD advertisements under the CAP Code.
What has changed is that the ASA is now able to consider all aspects of VOD advertising, whether the relevant rules derive from the self-regulatory CAP Code or from the law. Previously, the ASA referred complaints that might fall under the law to Ofcom. This change will make it easier for viewers, who can be confident that the ASA is the right body to deal with complaints about advertising in all media, regardless of the underlying legal framework. [except babe channels with remain under the censorship of Ofcom!]