Unlucky to Get Caught…Ofcom whinges at babe channels for linking to adult website without age verification

Posted: 19 February, 2014 in Babe Channels, Ofcom TV Censor
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Read more Ofcom Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See Complaints Bulletin [pdf] from stakeholders.ofcom.org.u

  • get lucky tv logoGet Lucky TV
    Get Lucky TV (channel 908), 9 October to 2 December 2013, various times between 21:00 and 05:30
  • Lucky Star
    Lucky Star (channel 909), 9 October to 2 December 2013, various times between 21:00 and 05:30
  • Party
    Party (channel 175), 9 October to 20 December 2013, various times between 00:00 and 05:30

Ofcom received a complaint that the website http://www.babestation.com was being promoted openly on-screen on the service Get Lucky TV intermittently throughout the day. The complainant said that on accessing the Babestation website by means of this URL it was possible to view content which was clearly R18 and beyond . Ofcom viewed the Get Lucky TV channel and noted that references were made to the website http://www.babestation.com by way of a graphic, positioned in the top left-hand corner of the screen, which showed the URL. Ofcom viewed the channel’s output between the hours of 21:00 and 05:30 at various times and on various dates. On all occasions when the presenters were on screen, the URL was visible.

After receiving the complaint Ofcom accessed the http://www.babestation.com website and noted and retained records, including video and screenshots, of the following:

  • The homepage featuring a selection of thumbnail images of women. On clicking on the image of a woman, the user was taken to a second page with further images of the woman and the option to see her in what was described as a ¡§live show¡¨ by selecting a choice of payment methods.
  • Ofcom noted that when scrolling through the homepage, a small number of the thumbnail images of the women were explicit, for example showing some with their legs open and their genital area fully visible. In one instance, the image was more explicit, showing a woman masturbating with her fingers inserted inside her vagina. These images were available to view without any restrictions.
  • Once a thumbnail image of a woman was selected and the user accessed the second page of images, the user was able to make payment to enable live webcam streaming and live interaction with the woman. The payment could be done through the use of a PRS number, which generated a PIN, which in turn could be entered into the website. This allowed full access to the website until the call was disconnected. Access could also be purchased by a credit card.
  • Ofcom noted that when the PRS number was dialled and the PIN received (or payment was made using a credit card), users were able to view the live webcam feed and interact with the woman in the original thumbnail via a text chat window. To the right of the screen, a scrollable window displayed live images from other webcam feeds and, in many instances, these were images of women masturbating (equivalent to British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) R18-rated content1). On clicking on any one these live images, users were taken to their chosen live feed, and many of these feeds included R18 equivalent material, predominantly of close-up images of the women’s genitals as they inserted items such as vibrators into their vaginas.
  • When accessing these live webcam feeds via the PRS number the user was at no time asked to verify they were over the age of 18.

Ofcom considered BCAP Code Rule 30.3, which states:

Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only.

The Licensee accepted that there had been a compliance failure and apologised. It said it had taken immediate action following Ofcom contacting the broadcaster. This action included removing the Babestation URL from Get Lucky broadcasts and, as an additional measure, ensuring that anyone attempting to access the http://www.babestation.com site was redirected to http://www.babestation.co.uk (which the Licensee said was managed by internal personnel and was wholly compliant with the BCAP Code).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 30.3

Ofcom noted that the Licensee apologised for this compliance error and has introduced new training and procedures as a result of this incident. Nonetheless the broadcast of promotional references to the http://www.babestation.com website on Get Lucky TV for extended periods between 9 October and 2 December 2013 breached Rule 30.3 of the BCAP Code.

Ofcom was particularly concerned that in this case the advertising led to a website which contained R18 equivalent material without any appropriate age verification process.

Breaches of BCAP Code Rule 30.3

Similar breaches of the rules were recorded against associated channels, Lucky Star, and Party.

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