BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1995-129

Members
  • J M Potter (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
Dated
Complainant
  • Cliff Turner
Number
1995-129
Channel/Station
TV2


Summary

Six separate sponsorship credits for Lion Red were broadcast in under three minutes in

the opening sequence of the broadcast of Lion Red Big League on TV2 at 10.00pm on

11 August 1995.

Mr Turner complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that this number, within such a

short time span, amounted to the saturation of liquor promotion in contravention of

the Programme Standards.

Arguing that the standards acknowledged that the concept of saturation applied to a

"viewing period" which in this case involved the time from the start of the game until

at least half time, TVNZ denied that liquor promotion dominated the broadcast during

that period. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's reply, Mr Turner referred the complaint to the

Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons below, the Authority declined to determine the complaint.


Decision

The members of the Authority have viewed part of the item 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.

The Winfield Cup game between the Auckland Warriors and the Sydney Bulldogs was

broadcast on Lion Red Big League beginning at 10.00pm on 11 August 1995.

Pointing out that there were six Lion Red sponsorship credits within 2 minutes 40

seconds early in the broadcast, Mr Turner complained that such a number within such

a short period amounted to saturation of liquor promotion in breach of standard A1 of

the Programme Standards.

Standard A1 of the Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor reads:


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

avoided.


The Standards include the following definition:

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

liquor promotion is dominating that viewing period.


TVNZ focussed on the term "viewing period" used in the definition and argued, in

view of the Authority's Decision No: 122/94, that an isolated 2 minutes 40 seconds

could not be extracted from the broadcast and that the first half – if not the full game –

consisted of the "viewing period". During that time, it continued, the broadcast had

not given an impression of the saturation of liquor promotion.

The parties have focussed on the concept of the "viewing period" in their

correspondence with the Authority. The VHS tape of the broadcast supplied by

TVNZ to which the complaint referred did not include the specific period complained

about and TVNZ, subsequently, has been unable to supply a copy of it. It pointed

out that the complaint about the Manly v Cronulla game was similar and that tape was

supplied in full.

The Authority records its displeasure, indeed dissatisfaction, that TVNZ has been

unable to supply a tape of the programme complained about. In a complaint about the

saturation of liquor promotion, the "impression" given is fundamental to the decision.

Without watching a tape, the Authority was not prepared to determine the complaint.

The situation is ameliorated to some extent as the complaint about the Manly and

Cronulla game is concerned with the same matter. In that decision (No: 128/95), the

Authority has addressed some of the issues raised in the correspondence on this

occasion. However, because of the absolute centrality of the "impression" given (as

Decision No: 128/95 makes clear), because the tape was not available, the Authority

was not prepared to give an indication as to how it would have determined the current

complaint.

 

For the reasons above, the Authority, in all the circumstances, declines to

determine the complaint under s.11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judith Potter
Chairperson
16 November 1995


Appendix

Mr Turner's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 16 August 1995

Cliff Turner of Hamilton complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about the

broadcast of Lion Red Big League on TV2 at 10.00pm on 11 August 1995.

He wrote:

Early in the programme the words "Lion Red" were prominently on screen, in

two different forms, for 12 consecutive seconds. Forty seconds later the words

were again prominent on screen for six seconds. After another 1 minute 5

seconds the screen was again dominated by the words "Lion Red Big League" for

five seconds.

After another minute and a half the words "Lion Red Big League" again appeared

for another five seconds. This appearance was accompanied by a spoken

reference to Lion Red.

Pointing out that there were six Lion Red sponsorship credits within 2 minutes 40

seconds, Mr Turner maintained that such a number within such a short period

amounted to the saturation of liquor promotion in breach of standard A1 of the

Programme Standards.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 4 September 1995

Assessing the complaint under the nominated standard, TVNZ said the telecast

featured the league game between the Auckland Warriors and the Sydney Bulldogs.

Although the complaint was not specific on the point, it assumed that Mr Turner

referred to the start of the broadcast.

TVNZ noted that "saturation" was defined in the Programme Standards as occurring

when liquor promotion dominated the viewing period. Furthermore, in Decision No:

122/94, the Authority had declined to accept a short extract from a programme as the

"viewing period". TVNZ added:

TVNZ submits therefore that the 2 minute and 40 seconds to which your

complaint refers cannot be taken in isolation and that a "viewing period" in this

case must, at very least, be considered as the game up until half-time (perhaps

even the entire game given that few viewers would be likely to switch off at the

mid point).

In respect of the first half of the game, TVNZ stated that the broadcast had not given

an impression of a saturation of "Lion Red regalia" and declined to uphold the

complaint.

GOAL's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 7 September

1995

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

Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

Expressing regret that he had not defined precisely the time of the broadcast that he

had referred to, Mr Turner said TVNZ was correct in assuming that he meant the

beginning of the programme.

Mr Turner also referred to Decision No: 122/94 which stated that the "viewing

period" need not refer to the full programme on every occasion. Moreover, that

decision had pointed out the Steinlager logo which featured in that broadcast "was for

the most part relatively small and placed unobtrusively on the screen". That was also

a matter which appeared to be relevant on this occasion as "the Lion Red signs

dominated the screen". Referring to the Guideline which required broadcasters to

comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the standards, Mr Turner concluded:

The guidelines to the Programme Standards make it clear that three liquor

advertisements within a three minute commercial break constitute saturation.

Common sense suggests that six liquor promotions within 2 minutes 40 seconds

should also be regarded as saturation.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 19 September 1995

TVNZ advised:

We have little to add to our letter to Mr Turner dated 4 September except to

emphasise again that we do not believe that saturation of liquor promotions in a

television programme can be judged solely on what occurs in a 2 minute 40

second sequence. A larger time frame has to be taken into consideration if the

impact of the promotional material is to be fairly judged.

The first half at least, if not the whole game, TVNZ added, would be the appropriate

period and, during that time span, it maintained that the "Lion Red" promotion did not

dominate.

Mr Turner's Final Comment - 27 September 1995

Disagreeing with TVNZ's claim that a longer time frame should be used to measure

saturation, Mr Turner wrote:

Six liquor promotions in 2 minutes 40 seconds is a veritable barrage which must

have had considerable impact on viewers.

Mr Turner referred to an earlier decision (No: 141/93) when the Authority upheld a

complaint that four liquor promotions in a 3 minute commercial break constituted

saturation. He maintained that the precedent applied and, he concluded:

Guideline 4 in the current rule book makes it clear that a three minute commercial

break can be legitimately termed a viewing period, and that three liquor

advertisements in that time will be regarded as saturation. The average viewer

makes no distinction between a liquor advertisement and a liquor-related

sponsorship credit; to suggest that three liquor advertisements in three minutes

give more of an impression of saturation than is conveyed by six liquor

promotions in 2 minutes 40 seconds is absurd.

Further Correspondence

As the VHS tape provided by TVNZ did not correspond with the matters raised in

Mr Turner's complaint, on 29 September 1995 the Authority asked TVNZ to check

whether the tape supplied covered the matter complained about fully.

In its reply of 4 October 1995, TVNZ conceded that there appeared to be some

material missing on the tape from the beginning of the broadcast. Further, it was not

possible to supply a copy of the tape as the programme was broadcast. However, it

added, the duration of the opening title was similar to that used on the Manly v

Cronulla game broadcast on 4 September about which there had also been a similar

complaint and for which the full tape was provided.

TVNZ stated:

I apologise for TVNZ's inability to provide the full tape of the programme on

this occasion but hope that the information contained in the memorandum,

together with what is found on the tape and what can be seen on the Manly v

Cronulla tape (which is complete) will provide sufficient for the Authority to

reach a determination of Mr Turner's complaint.

The accompanying TVNZ internal memorandum forwarded to the Authority recorded:

Unfortunately we are unable to provide any more video material than the

enclosed tape, but it does appear the top of the programme is missing. However

I do have the log from the top of the programme which shows that in the first

two minutes the opening titles were used with "Lion Red Big League" appearing

three times for approximately three second each and a break title of eight

seconds with "Lion Red Big League" was also used.

Sorry no other material exists.

When advised of this, Mr Turner assured the Authority that his description was

accurate, adding:

I cannot believe that when the Authority instituted the "three minute" rule it

intended that TVNZ should be allowed to use the quota for 18 minutes in less

than three minutes.