Ofcom maintains pressure on ‘Adult’ channels

UK regulator Ofcom’s latest Broadcast Bulletin names and shames another batch of so called ‘Adult’ channels for assorted breaches of its broadcast rules. Northern Birds (Sky channel 935), Essex Babes (Sky channel 936), Sportxxx Girls (Sky channel 940) and Livexxx Babes (Sky channel 942) all transmit interactive daytime chat and ‘adult chat’ advertising content, and – in Ofcom’s words – show “female presenters [who] dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the premium rates telephone numbers. The licences for Northern Birds, Sportxxx Girls, Essex Babes and Livexxx Babes are all held by Satellite Entertainment Ltd.”

All the channels broadcast free-to-air and are unencrypted.  Ofcom has notified the channel’s operator to expect a statutory sanction for “serious breaches” of its codes.

Ofcom, in particular, noted that the channels made frequent on-screen references to a website (bluebird.tv), as well as highlighting premium rate telephone/text numbers. Since Sept 1 2010 these channels have operated under licences, and rules, that cover long-form teleshopping services.

Ofcom’s rules state: “Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only,” and consequently Ofcom considered the channels to be in breach of its regulations.

Back in July 2011 Ofcom published its revised guidance covering telecommunications-based sexual entertainment services and day-time ‘chat’ services, and stated: “Ofcom licensed services that are broadcast without mandatory restricted access [ie: encryption] must not promote websites that contain material within the recognised character of pornography.”

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