BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1994-122

Members
  • I W Gallaway (Chair)
  • W J Fraser
  • L M Loates
  • J R Morris
Dated
Complainant
  • Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL)
Number
1994-122
Programme
One World of Sport
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

The first rugby test between the All Blacks and the South Africans was covered on

Television One's One World of Sport between 2.00–6.00pm on Saturday 9 July.

GOAL's spokesperson, Mr Turner, complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the

broadcaster, that the eight appearances of the Steinlager logo between 2.00pm and the

first commercial break at about 2.10pm breached the standard prohibiting the

saturation of liquor promotions.

Referring to some earlier decisions where the Authority ruled that saturation was to be

measured over the entire programme – not between commercial breaks, TVNZ declined

to uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, Mr Turner referred

GOAL's complaint to the Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.


For the reasons given below, the Authority declined to uphold the complaint.


Decision

The members of the Authority have viewed parts of One World of Sport on the

afternoon of 9 July and have read the correspondence (summarised in the Appendix).

As is its practice, the Authority has determined the complaint without a formal

hearing.

TVNZ's coverage of the first rugby test between the All Blacks and South Africa on 9

July 1994 began at 2.00pm. The game itself started at 2.30pm and the broadcast after

the game (from approximately 4.00 to 6.00pm) included interviews with the captain

and coaches, extracts from a recent rugby game between Samoa and Fiji, extracts from

the third test in 1981 between the All Blacks and the South Africans and a lengthy

post mortem of that afternoon's game in which a number of commentators

participated.

GOAL's spokesperson (Mr Turner) complained that between the start of the

coverage at 2.00pm and the first commercial break at about 2.10pm, the Steinlager logo

was screened on eight occasions. Eight occasions of liquor promotion within about 10

minutes, he continued, constituted saturation in breach of standard 1 of the Programme

Standards for the Promotion of Liquor. Standard 1 reads (in part):

A1  Saturation of liquor promotions, separately or in combination, must be

avoided.


The standards include a definition of "saturation":


"Saturation" refers to a degree of exposure which gives the impression that

liquor promotion is dominating that viewing or listening period.

Pointing to the term "viewing period" in the definition, TVNZ disagreed that the first

10 minutes of a four hour programme could be so defined. TVNZ referred to the

Authority's discussion about the expression in decisions 151/93–155/93 when dealing

with a number of complaints about the broadcast of some Winfield Cup rugby league

games, when the Authority had considered that the viewing period should be

interpreted as "the entire programme". Saturation, those decisions stated, would occur

if liquor promotions appeared more often than once every three minutes when

averaged over the entire programme. With regard to the programme complained about

on this occasion, TVNZ continued, the Steinlager logo had been broadcast on 45

occasions (plus three verbal references) between 2.00–6.00pm which did not

transgress the once every three minutes guideline.

When he referred GOAL's complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner did not accept that

reasoning and argued that the part of the programme to which he referred could be

considered in isolation from the full programme.

The definition of the "viewing period" was one of the main issues for the Authority

raised by the complaint. It accepted that the Steinlager logo was screened eight times

during the first ten minutes and 12 times altogether between the start of the coverage

at 2.00pm and the start of the game at 2.30pm. In considering what the viewing

period consisted of, the Authority acknowledged TVNZ's points that a viewer would

be extraordinarily unlikely to switch on for the pre-game report and then switch off

when the game started at 2.30pm. However, it was not prepared to accept that the

viewing period covered the full period of One World of Sport broadcast from 

2.00–6.00pm as not only did the broadcast present material which did not deal

with the game just screened, but many viewers for a variety of reasons would be

unlikely to watch the full broadcast continuously for four hours until 6.00pm.

Defining the viewing period is particularly important when applying the guideline

which allows one liquor promotion each three minutes when averaged over the entire

broadcast. It is relevant too that the guideline was devised by the Authority to deal

with the weekly broadcast of Winfield Cup Rugby League games. It was designed to

deal in particular with the appearance of the "Lion Red" logo which was screened

when replays were broadcast. Not only were replays in the All Black and South

African rugby test sponsored by Shell, but the game was screened live. Most of the

Winfield Cup games were not broadcast contemporaneously and therefore it was

possible for the broadcast of the game to be interrupted while the same incident was

shown in extensive replays from a number of angles.

The Authority does not want to minimise the importance of the one liquor promotion

every three minutes guideline when averaged over the entire game. However, it does

want to point out that as a guideline it need not apply unquestioningly to every sports

broadcast.

For example, in a decision on a complaint that the number of references to Steinlager

during the "Steinlager Finest Tries" competition amounted to saturation (No: 5/94),

the Authority considered that the one promotion in three minutes guideline was

inapplicable as, first, the viewer's focus would be on the try scoring displayed, and

secondly, the item did not involve the broadcast of entire games or large sections from

them.

Whereas the broadcast on this occasion involved the entire game (unlike the Finest

Tries competition), the complaint focussed on the first ten minutes of a four hour

broadcast. Although it was clear that the first 10 minutes did not amount to a

"viewing period", the Authority, for the reasons noted above, was not prepared to

agree with TVNZ that the period stretched over the entire four hours.

Although the Authority agrees that a viewer would be extremely unlikely to switch off

after the pre-game part of the broadcast, just as the feature game started, it believes

that it is important that the nature of the broadcast changed at 2.30pm – from build up

to the game itself – and that this fact justifies considering the period from 

2.00–2.30pm as the relevant viewing period.

The Authority noted above that the Steinlager logo was screened 12 times within that

30 minutes period which exceeded the one promotion each three minute guideline.

However, it also noted above that the guideline was devised to deal with broadcasts of

games virtually standing alone. More importantly, saturation, the standards note,

occurs when the exposure of liquor promotion gives the impression of dominating the

viewing period. In view of the fact that the Steinlager logo was for the most part

relatively small and placed unobtrusively on the screen, the Authority concluded that

as there had not been an impression of liquor promotions dominating the period

between 2.00–2.30pm, saturation had not occurred.

 

For the above reason, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Iain Gallaway
Chairperson
1 December 1994


Appendix

GOAL's Complaint to Television New Zealand Limited - 10 July 1994

The Secretary of the Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL), Mr Cliff

Turner, complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about the first 10 minutes of

Television One's coverage of the All Blacks' rugby match against South Africa on 9

July 1994.

Pointing out that the coverage began at 2.00pm - before the game's scheduled start at

2.30pm - Mr Turner stated that during the period before the first commercial break at

about 2.10, the word Steinlager was shown in its "logo-ised" form on eight occasions.

That number of appearances in one viewing period, he maintained, amounted to the

saturation in contravention of standard A1 of the Programme Standards for the

Promotion of Liquor.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 1 August 1994

When TVNZ advised GOAL of its Complaints Committee's decision to decline to

uphold the complaint, it pointed out the definition of "saturation" in the standards

referred to a "viewing period". TVNZ then referred to Decision Nos: 151 - 155/93

when the Authority declined to accept that a ten minute spell between commercial

breaks could be defined as a "viewing period". The Authority had decided that the

term applied to the entire game and had ruled that saturation would occur if a liquor

promotion appeared more than once every three minutes when averaged over the

entire programme.

Applying that reasoning, TVNZ continued, it had counted the number of Steinlager

exposures on One World of Sport between 2.00 - 6.00pm on 9 July.

As there had been only 48 references - mostly very brief - during the four hour

programme, TVNZ stated that the number of liquor promotions did not contravene

the Authority's rulings.

GOAL's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 5 August 1994

Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, Mr Turner on GOAL's behalf referred the

complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting

Act 1989.

Mr Turner stated that he did not accept TVNZ's reasoning about how to assess the

allowable "quota" of promotions. He disputed TVNZ's argument that the first 10

minutes could not be seen as a separate programme and he referred to the Explanatory

Note which accompanies the standard. It reads:

The prohibition in standard A1 of saturation of liquor promotions includes

programme sponsorship credits. Television broadcasters must take

particular care with sporting events sponsored by liquor advertisers which

contain frequent replays and other "breakouts" such as player profiles, to

avoid breaching this standards. For example, saturation is more likely to

occur when gratuitous repetition of breakouts are broadcast and/or both

visual and audio credits are broadcast.

If sponsorship credits by liquor advertisers are broadcast at the beginning

and end of every advertising interval and the intervals are frequent,

broadcasters must be particularly careful about broadcasting other liquor

promotions within the programme.

The latter aspect of the note suggested, he argued, that parts of programmes could be

considered in isolation from the entire programme.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 13 September 1994

In a brief response, TVNZ said it had little to add, observing:

[O]ur Complaints Committee made its decision cognisant of, and with referral

to, Broadcasting Standards Authority decisions 151/93 - 155/93 which make it

clear that a ten minute spell within a programme cannot be regarded as a

"viewing period".

GOAL's Final Comment to the Authority - 17 September 1994

On GOAL's behalf, Mr Turner repeated his request that the Authority take into

account the aspect of the explanatory note he had noted. He concluded:

I hope that the Authority's decision on this complaint will give a firm ruling on

this point.