Northern Birds, Essex Babes, Sportxxx Girls, and Livexxx Babes
24 September to 8 February 2013, various times throughout the day
The services all transmit interactive daytime chat and adult chat advertising content. These services are freely available without mandatory restricted access and are situated in the adult section of the electronic programme guide of the Sky digital satellite platform ( Sky EPG ). Viewers are invited to contact on-screen presenters via premium-rate telephony services ( PRS ). The female presenters dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the PRS numbers. The licencesare all held by Satellite Entertainment Limited ( SEL ).
Ofcom received a complaint that, throughout the day and across all these channels, on-screen references were made to the website bluebird.tv by means of a graphic giving the URL of the website positioned in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. The complainant said that on accessing the website there were no access restrictions, and that users were directed to freely accessible R18 equivalent content by clicking on any number of links .
From Ofcom’s examination of the broadcast material, it appeared that no verbal references to the website URL were made by the presenters.
The bluebird.tv website consisted of a homepage containing a number of tab-style links to Bluebird branded content. There were no access restrictions other than responding OK to a pop-up box on first visiting the site to confirm that the user was over 18 years of age.
Ofcom observed that this website contained explicit pornographic material (equivalent to the British Board of Film Classification ( BBFC ) R18-rated content 1 ). Registration and age verification by means of using a credit card (holders must be over 18 years of age) was only required if the user wished to become a member of the premium Bluebird service.
Two types of explicit pornographic material could be accessed and viewed from the Bluebird Films homepage.
The first type, on initially accessing the Bluebird Films website, consisted of an embedded video player positioned in the centre of the screen, which automatically played a video clip. The player showed a 50-second video clip, the first 30 seconds of which featured edited glamour shots of scantily clad or naked women, kissing, touching and posing in an erotic way. The final 20 seconds of the clip, however, featured explicit sexual material involving shots of oral sex, vaginal penetration, and the use of sex toys for sexual stimulation or penetration some of which were in close-up.
The second type of pornographic material was accessible at the bottom of the page and consisted of 17 photographic hyperlinks under the heading Bluebird Films Hot Movies . These links promoted pornographic films that could be viewed in full by purchasing premium Bluebird membership or by purchasing the associated DVD product (from the Buy DVD’s [sic] tab positioned at the top of the page). Clicking on these photographic hyperlinks led the user through to teaser videos, each between about one and two minutes in length, promoting the full film to which the photographic hyperlink corresponded. These teaser videos featured explicit sexual material including vaginal penetration, oral sex, and masturbation some of which was again in close-up.
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.
[After an initial approach from Ofcom the company reorganised the website so that the first website which would be accessed by viewers does not contain adult material itself but links though to another related website that does. Ofcom judged that this technique does not circumvent the ban on links to porn sites].
Ofcom Conclusion: Brach of Rule 30.3
The broadcast of an advertisement, on channels without mandatory restricted access, for a website containing pornographic material, is a serious breach of the BCAP Code. Ofcom is particularly concerned that the Licensee in these instances broadcast, for extended periods both during daytime and immediately after the watershed when children were available to view (some unaccompanied), on-screen references to a website which led to R18 equivalent material without any access restrictions.
Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that it will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
Breaches of BCAP Code Rule 30.3