Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor and Canterbury Television Ltd - 1994-090
- I W Gallaway (Chair)
- J R Morris
- L M Loates
- R A Barraclough
- Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL)
BroadcasterCanterbury Television Ltd
DB Sport is the title of a weekly sports programme broadcast by CTV each Monday
GOAL, through its spokesperson Mr Turner, complained to Canterbury Television
Ltd that the words DB Draught appeared on the screen so many times during the
broadcast on 18 April that the standard requiring the avoidance of the saturation of
liquor promotions was breached.
As CTV did not respond within the 60 working day time limit, GOAL referred the
complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(b) of the
Broadcasting Act 1989.
After the failure to respond was drawn to its attention, CTV advised that it upheld the
complaint and reported that the appearances of the DB logo had been removed from
the programme. Unsure as to what CTV's action amounted to and arguing that it was
probably insufficient in view of the extent of the present breach and past breaches,
GOAL referred the complaint to the Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Act.
For the reasons given below, the Authority agreed with CTV that the broadcast
breached the standard but also accepted that its actions were appropriate in the
circumstances and declined to uphold GOAL's complaint that the broadcaster's action
The members of the Authority have viewed the programme complained about and
have read the correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). As is its practice, the
Authority has determined the complaint without a formal hearing.
GOAL complained to both the Advertising Standards Complaint Board (ASCB) and
CTV about CTV's broadcast of DB Sport at 9.00pm on 18 April. To the ASCB, it
alleged a breach of the Code for Advertising Liquor as the length of time during which
the sponsorship credits had been displayed on some occasions exceeded the
requirement in the rules that such displays be brief. To CTV, GOAL alleged that the
number of times the words "DB Draught" appeared on the screen contravened
standard A1 of the Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor. It states:
A1 Saturation of liquor promotions, separately or in combination, must be
avoided. In addition, liquor advertisements shall not be broadcast
consecutively in any one break.
Complaints made under the Programme Standards may be referred to the Broadcasting
Standards Authority within 20 working days should the complainant be dissatisfied
with the broadcaster's decision or after 60 working days of the date of the complaint
should the complainant not receive a reply.
Under the latter provision, GOAL complained to the Authority. When CTV was
approached by the Authority for its reasons for not responding, it apologised both to
GOAL and to the Authority for its oversight with respect to the saturation aspect of
the complaint. It added that that aspect of the complaint had been upheld and its
action was to remove the logos from the programme.
On being advised of CTV's decision and its action, GOAL then referred the complaint
to the Authority on the grounds of dissatisfaction with the broadcaster's actions. It
reported that it was unsure of what CTV's action amounted to but, nevertheless,
argued it was insufficient as the Authority had to date upheld five complaints about
DB Sport and, consequently, a penalty which was more than nominal should be
imposed. CTV explained to the Authority that the DB logo would no longer be
displayed when names or scoreboards were shown on the screen. CTV also provided
the Authority with a copy of a tape of DB Sport as broadcast on 22 August 1994 to
illustrate the effect of its action.
The Authority records that, as CTV acknowledged, it failed to respond to GOAL
within 60 working days. As noted above, GOAL complained to both the ASCB and
the broadcaster. The ASCB sought CTV's comments on the complaint that it had
received and CTV advised the Authority that it believed that it had complied with all
its obligations when the ASCB upheld the complaint that it was dealing with. It now
realised that the complaints were distinct matters and apologised for not replying
directly to GOAL on the complaint made under the Programme Standards. It was that
complaint which GOAL referred to the Authority. It was a complaint which CTV
said that it also upheld upon realising it had earlier failed to respond to it.
The Authority agreed with CTV on the saturation issue. Indeed, it considered that the
number of verbal references to and on screen displays of DB, DB Sport and DB
Draught during the one hour long programme was grossly excessive, especially given
the Authority's ruling in Decisions Nos: 151-155/93 that the saturation of liquor
promotions standard was breached in sports broadcasts when more than one liquor
promotion was broadcast every three minutes on average measured over the entire
programme. The Authority has not counted the precise number of references on this
occasion but stopped after reaching 25 (more than the allowable number) appearances
of the DB logo – which were usually in the top right-hand corner of the screen – when
the name of a person being interviewed was shown or the score of a game was
broadcast. The tape of the 22 August broadcast of DB Sport showed that these
appearances of the logo have been deleted.
When deciding whether CTV's action was sufficient in view of the nature of the
breach, the Authority was required to consider two differing submissions. On the one
hand, the elimination of the logos suggested a serious attempt by CTV to comply with
the standards. On the other hand, it could be said that such efforts only occurred after
a successful complaint and, as GOAL noted, five previous complaints against DB
Sport have been upheld by the Authority – most of them for breach of the saturation
provision either in standard A1 or its predecessor, standard 29 of the Television Code
of Broadcasting Practice. On two occasions (Decision No: 93/93 dated 9 August 1993
and No: 13/94 dated 5 April 1994) the Authority ordered CTV to broadcast a
statement although the second is subject to appeal yet to be resolved.
At this stage and taking into account CTV's apparent effort in recent months to
ensure that formal complaints are dealt with competently, the Authority decided on
balance to encourage CTV to build on its increasing professionalism, and not to
impose an order. At the same time, it was far from satisfied both at the time CTV
took to respond to the complaint and the length of the process which has elapsed to
ensure that DB Sport complies with the standards. Consequently, it believed that
CTV should be warned that should a further contravention of standard A1 occur with
regard to future broadcasts of DB Sport, it must expect the imposition of a serious
For the reasons given above, the Authority agreed with CTV when it upheld
GOAL's complaint about saturation of liquor promotion contained in the
broadcast of DB Sport on 18 April 1994 but decided that CTV's action was
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
GOAL's Formal Complaint to Canterbury Television Limited
In a letter dated 26 April 1994, GOAL complained to Canterbury Television Ltd
about the programme DB Sport which was broadcast at 9.00pm on 18 April 1994.
GOAL stated that the words DB Draught appeared on the screen so many times
during the broadcast that there was a breach of standard A1 of the Programme
Standards for the Promotion of Liquor.
GOAL's Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority
In a letter dated 25 July 1994, GOAL referred the complaint to the Broadcasting
Standards Authority under s.8(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 since the
broadcaster had not responded to the complaint within the statutory time limit of 60
CTV's Response to the Authority
As is its practice, the Authority advised the broadcaster of the referral. Its letter is
dated 26 July 1994 and CTV's reply, 29 July.
CTV stated that it had now written to GOAL explaining that the reason that it had not
responded to the complaint was because of an oversight on the part of its staff.
It also advised that it had upheld GOAL's complaint and had removed the logos from
GOAL'S Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority
Unsure as to what CTV's action amounted to now that it had belatedly upheld the
complaint, GOAL referred the complaint to the Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Act
in a letter dated 7 August 1994.
Regardless of the specific action CTV had undertaken, GOAL argued that the
Authority should consider the complaint and impose an order.
The Authority has upheld five complaints from GOAL about DB Sport and
has twice imposed a nominal penalty. I believe that strong action against CTV
is long overdue.
CTV's Response to the Authority
As the complaint had now been referred under s.8(1)(a), the Authority sought CTV's
response in a letter dated 8 August 1994. In its reply dated 10 August, CTV
explained that all the "keys had a DB Draught logo" attached to them. Now the logo
had been removed from "all programme keys and scoreboards". That information, it
advised, had been conveyed to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB).
GOAL's Final Comment to the Authority
When asked if it wanted to comment on CTV's reply, in a letter dated 18 August
GOAL pointed out that CTV, which acknowledged that saturation was the issue,
should be aware in view of past complaints that saturation was not within the