Nightcap…ASA find that alcohol restrictions on music channels have to be set at 10pm or 11pm because the kids don’t go to bed until then

Posted: 29 June, 2014 in ASA Advert Censor
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Read more ASA Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

kerrang tv logo No doubt moralist campaigners will now be calling for an 11pm watershed for all TV deemedto be made for an adult audience.Perhaps something missing from the ASA analysis is that considering a range of ages from 10 must surely distort the analysis. Surely 10 year olds go to bed an awful lot earlier than 15 year olds so considering the average is likely underestimate the amount of kids staying up at the higher end of the range. I would suspect that it may be 11pm to 12pm before the teenagers turn off.

The ASA challenged the scheduling of 576 alcohol ads that were broadcast after 9 pm on the seven Box TV music channels in the period February, March, April 2013. In total, the ASA found that the scheduling of 268 ads breached the BCAP Code and the scheduling of 308 ads did not.

Rule 32.2.1 of The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code) states that alcohol ads should not be shown in or around programmes commissioned for, principally targeted at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18.

Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) guidance recommends the use of audience indexing, a statistical tool, to determine the representation of children in relation to the audience as a whole. BCAP guidance states that an alcohol restriction should be applied in programmes where the 10- to 15-year-old audience, indexed against the total audience of all individuals over four years old, produces an index of 120 or more. An index of 120 would mean that 10- to 15-year-olds are 20% over-represented in the programme audience compared to the audience as a whole. Presumably an index of 100 would mean that the program is viewed by an average cross section of all ages.

There were 576 alcohol ads broadcast in programmes on the following channels licensed to Box Television Ltd in the period February, March and April 2013:

  1. 4Music (126 ads); described on the 4Music website as a channel that brings you closer to the hottest artists right now .
  2. Heat (22 ads); described on the Heat website as a channel that brings you the best in entertainment and celebrity news .
  3. Kerrang (138 ads); described on the Kerrang website as the music channel for the world’s biggest selling rock magazine .
  4. Kiss TV (93 ads); described on the Kiss TV website as the beat of the UK on TV .
  5. Magic TV (43 ads); described on the Magic TV website as offering feel good favourites twenty four hours a day .
  6. Smash Hits (69 ads); described on the Smash Hits website as hits now and always .
  7. The Box (85 ads); described on The Box website as providing fresh music first .

There were 219 ads broadcast between 9 pm and 9.59 pm; 143 ads between 10 pm and 10.59 pm; 102 between 11 pm and 11.59 pm and 102 ads broadcast after 12 am.

The ASA Compliance team challenged whether it was appropriate to schedule alcohol ads in the programmes on these channels because the data indicated that many were likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld in parts

1. 4Music

The ASA acknowledged that the audience figures for 4Music were low and agreed that a time slot based restriction was a reasonable scheduling approach when attempting to comply with the spirit and intention of the Code.

In accordance with the advice of the statistical expert as to the potential for the audience indexing score to be useful to some degree, we noted that the average index score in the 9 pm to 9.59 pm time slot on 4Music varied from 134 to 136. After 10 pm the average index dropped to 95 to 97 and remained below the 120 cut-off point for the rest of the night in every weekly period.

We considered that a 10 pm restriction would have been more appropriate based on the spirit and intention of the rule, based in turn on the hard audience information available and knowledge of the audience profiles.

2. The Box, Smash Hits and Heat

  • The Box: average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 121 to 141
  • The Heat:  average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 140 to 158
  • Smash Hits average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 143 to 154
  • All fell to under 120 after 10pm (but this still means a lot of kids are watching)

We considered that a 10 pm restriction for alcohol ads on The Box, Smash Hits and Heat would have been more appropriate.

3. Kerrang

  • Average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 219 to 241
  • Average index score 10 pm to 10.59 pm: 172 to 196
  • The average index score continued to exceed 120 until 00.59 am

We therefore considered that an 11 pm restriction would have been more appropriate.

4. Kiss

  • Average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 132 to 169
  • Average index score 10 pm to 10.59 pm: 133 to 148 some week, under 120 others
  • Fell to under 120 after 11pm

We therefore considered that an 11 pm restriction would have been more appropriate.

5. Magic TV Complaints not upheld

  • The average index score for the preceding 52 weeks did not exceed 120 in any time slot.

We therefore concluded that the third party had demonstrated that the decision to allow alcohol ads from 9 pm on Magic TV was a reasonable scheduling decision.

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