Ofcom has banned four TV channels owned by Bang Channels and Bang Media following serious and repeated breaches of Ofcom's censorship rules in its Broadcasting Code.
The licensees have been revoked for the following services:
Tease Me on Sky satellite
Tease Me TV on Freeview digital TV
Tease Me 2 on Sky satellite
Tease Me 3 on Sky satellite
The channels which promote adult chat are broadcast free to air. Viewers are encouraged to contact the onscreen female presenters via premium rate telephony services ( PRS ). During the daytime, the channels are not permitted to promote adult
chat services and the material must be suitable for a pre-watershed audience.
Both companies, under common ownership, have repeatedly breached rules which protect children from any sexual material and easily offended viewers from supposedly
harmful and offensive material.
Over a sustained period of time the licensees have transmitted content that was too sexual for the time of day or being broadcast unencrypted. A minute amount of the material broadcast was so strong that it would be
considered equivalent to BBFC R18 rated material. This is not permitted on British TV – either free-to-air or under encryption. Ofcom has decided that the companies are no longer fit and proper to hold broadcast licences.
In July 2010
Ofcom fined the two companies a total of £157,250 for serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code and other licence conditions. At the time Ofcom warned of a wholly inadequate compliance system that amounted to manifest recklessness and warned
that such repeated compliance failures would not be tolerated.
The licencees have repeatedly failed to comply with Ofcom's rules in the last 18 months and over 60 breaches have been recorded.
On 19 November 2010, Ofcom directed the
broadcaster to suspend transmission and today the licenses have been revoked.
Ofcom plans to meet all our licensees in this part of the broadcasting sector to ensure that they are quite clear how seriously Ofcom takes its duties in relation to the
protection of easily offended television audiences and in particular children.
Ofcom's Director of Standards, Chris Banatvala, said: We want to be very clear that Ofcom are required by Parliament to protect audiences through the Broadcasting
Code. We simply will not tolerate serious and repeated breaches of the Code and have therefore decided to revoke these licences. Audiences should be assured that we will continue to take action to stop broadcasters breaching the rules in this area .
Since its introduction in 1982, Playboy TV, a subscription channel, has focused on attracting men with soft-core porn movies, adult-oriented game shows and Playmate specials.
It's a fading proposition. The channel is too tame to compete with
sex-related video-on-demand services — or even certain HBO shows — yet too raunchy to appeal strongly to women, who typically control the household cable bill, according to industry research. Never mind that plenty of titillation is available
free with a click of a mouse.
So Playboy spent a year conducting focus groups and other research. If this channel could be anything, what should it be? said Gary Rosenson, a senior vice president and general manager of Playboy's domestic
television operation. The outcome: Playboy TV will begin shifting from traditional pornography toward a higher-quality, female-friendly slate of reality shows. They will call this block of shows TV for 2 .
The first new series is Brooklyn Kinda Love.
It follows the intricacies of four real couples' relationships. Another new show involves monogamous couples receiving advice on how to achieve greater intimacy. In all, the channel will add six new shows by the end of next year.
remains firmly sexual but Playboy insists that it is less identifiable as pornography. The emphasis is now on intimacy, learning as a couple and of course those all-important higher production values.
This is not just a face-lift, Rosenson
said. This is a major movement away from the type of adult fare that you can easily find on the Web. They say that every important TV niche has been filled, but I'm pretty sure we've found one that hasn't.
The channel's research, conducted
by Sharon Lee, a firm that analyzes societal trends, indicated that women — particularly younger women — were not opposed to pornography as long as it had certain attributes. Among them: real chemistry, nonenhanced body parts, varied body
shapes and contextualized sex. They want the romance to flow organically from the story and not pop up in a forced fashion as is the case in so many adult movies, Ms. Lee said.
Playboy has little choice but to pursue a new path on
the premium television front; the cost for its channel varies by provider, but is about $15 a month. Hugh Hefner, who founded the company in 1953, has long resisted the obvious way of competing with the Internet — going more hard core — for
fear of damaging the Playboy brand. But that strategy has left Playboy TV without a sharp identity. In the most recent quarter, revenue in the company's entertainment group, which includes Playboy TV, declined 20%.
The TV censor Ofcom has fined Bang Channels Limited and Bang Media (London) Limited for the broadcast of free to air 'babe channel' programmes between June 2009 and November 2009,
Bang Channels Limited was fined for programmes on Tease Me, Tease
Me 2, Tease Me 3. Bang Media (London) Limited was fined for programmes on Tease Me TV For breaches of Ofcom's 2005 Broadcasting Code in respect of:
Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them
Rule 1.24: Premium subscription services and pay per view/night services may broadcast adult-sex. material between 2200
and 0530 provided that in addition to other protections mentioned above: . there is a mandatory PIN protected encryption system, or other equivalent protection, that seeks satisfactorily to restrict access solely to those authorised to view; and there
are measures in place that ensure that the subscriber is an adult.
Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from
the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include,
but is not limited to, …sex… .
Having considered all facts and arguments put before it the Sanctions Committee deemed sanctions totalling £157,250 to be appropriate, the Committee wishes to emphasise that it views the broadcast of inappropriate explicit material – such as
that forming the basis of this Decision – with the utmost seriousness. In this instance, the Committee concluded that the Licensees had been operating a wholly inadequate compliance system. The Committee considered this inadequate compliance to amount to
manifest recklessness. This recklessness therefore informed the Committee's judgment of appropriate sanctions.
The Ofcom Executive investigated a number of programmes broadcast on the channels operated by the Licensees and found 13 programmes
broadcast on channels operated by Bang Channels to have breached the Code and one programme broadcast on the channel operated by Bang Media to have breached the Code. The Ofcom Executive also found each of Bang Channels and Bang Media to have breached
Licence Condition 11 of their respective licences by failing to provide forthwith full recordings of programmes upon request by Ofcom
In summary, the material found in breach related to unsuitable adult material, shown for the sole purpose
of sexual stimulation. Some footage contained inappropriate explicit sexual imagery including intrusive images of, simulated masturbation and oral sex, genital and anal detail. In some cases, the material was considered to be of such strength that it was
only suitable for transmission with mandatory restrictions (e.g. under PIN encryption). In one programme, in particular, the material was of such strength that it was considered to be equivalent of BBFC R18.7. 9.
There were further breaches
relating to daytime chat. In these cases, the broadcaster transmitted material which was considered to be unsuitable for pre-watershed viewing in that the content was inappropriately and overtly sexual.
A German TV censor got some satisfaction when satellite operator Astra voluntarily shut off 30 hardcore pornography channels after protests from Germany's Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM).
The channels were available
unscrambled to Astra subscribers in Germany. According to the KJM, that violated German laws protecting minors from adult content on television. The KJM had no legal recourse, however, since Astra is based outside German jurisdiction in Luxembourg.
But after talks with the KJM, Astra agreed to voluntarily drop the hardcore channels from its German channel bouquets. The company also pledged it would not add any more unscrambled porn channels to its German service.
European courts are set to make a judgment on a landmark foreign satellite case in the spring of 2011.
The Morning Advertiser understands that once licensee Karen Murphy's appeal at the European Court of Justice is heard on 5 October, it will take
until the spring for the judge to make his decision on how EU law should be implemented.
Murphy, of the Red, White & Blue in Portsmouth, was appealing against her conviction for screening Premiership football via Greek channel Nova Supersport.
She first took up the case in June 2006.
The actual hearing is set for 5th October. From there, it will take a couple of months for an advocate general to return an independent opinion to the court, and the judge will consider this recommendation
before returning his own judgment three to six months later.
It is then up to the High Court to apply the law, as defined by the EU, to Murphy's case, and reach its own conclusion.
The woman behind Canada's first homegrown pay TV adult entertainment channel insists its programming will be soft and tasteful.
Quebec TV personality and producer Anne-Marie Losique, a household name in her home province for her daring style and
X-rated series, promises content on Vanessa — that's the channel's name — will be much more than just porn movies.
The French-language adult subscription channel is launching in Quebec for $14.95 a month in October, with an English-language
counterpart promised for the rest of Canada in late 2011.
There's nothing shameful about Vanessa, Losique said in an interview. It's going to be a general-interest TV with a sexy twist.
She noted the channel will offer some
hard-core material, but stressed that overall, it is going to be soft — a Canadian answer to Playboy Channel.
Recently, Christian nutters expressed 'outrage' that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave the
green light to a national pay TV sex channel that will encourage and sustain a homegrown adult entertainment industry.
Losique said she understands religious groups' concerns, but said Vanessa is not a porn channel. There are enough of those
already. That's not what we're interested in. She said X-rated movies will represent less than 10% of the programming aimed mostly at couples.
The channel will offer a range of erotic-themed dramas, reality shows, documentaries and variety and
magazine shows. Losique said market studies have shown Quebec viewers want to learn something while watching X-rated content.
Taiwan's National Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated that programming on adult TV channels is regulated by the Radio and Television Act and cannot show sexual intercourse or sex organs.
Any violation of the laws on obscenity will be
reported to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the NCC said, after discovering that some adult channels had broken the rules.
They were asked to improve the situation within three days, said Ho Chi-shen, the NCC's supervisor of TV programs.
According to Ho, adult TV channels are not allowed to broadcast any content beyond the R-rated category, and even some R-rated programming -- such as describing sexual behavior in detail -- is not allowed on the air.
Only nude pictures without
showing sex organs or pubic hair, or pictures showing sex organs and pubic hair without involving sexual behavior that are necessary to the story, can be broadcast on television.
According to local media reports, the NCC asked 10 adult TV channels
on May 1 not to broadcast images of sexual behavior such as touching sex organs, sexual abuse or using sex toys.
That led some encrypted channels and Chunghwa Telecom's MOD (Multimedia On Demand) channels to cut more explicit scenes or use mosaic
blur to censor genitalia, sparking criticism from some of their customers.
Christians are 'appalled' that Ottawa is giving the green light to a Canadian pay TV pornography channel that will encourage and sustain a homegrown adult entertainment industry.
The channel, called Vanessa, will begin airing Oct. 28.
Montreal-based Sex-Shop Television licensed the channel in 2007 as a national pay TV service. The licence requires Vanessa to air 20% of Canadian programming. But it's only now launching the French-language adult subscription channel in Quebec for $14.95
a month, with an English-language counterpart promised for the rest of Canada in late 2011.
Don Hutchinson, director of law and public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, is 'outraged' that the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is in effect, supporting a pornography industry that will lure young Canadians.
We have an official government body saying that a pornography industry must exist in Canada, Hutchinson said: Studies
have shown that there are various levels of corruption, from organized crime to engagement in human trafficking and prostitution that are all affiliated directly with the pornography industry. The types of violent and explicitly sexual portrayals that
are displayed in pornography reduce people to objects, Hutchinson said. [perhaps better to turn people into objects rather than turning them into paedophiles, which seems to be where church sexual repression often leads].
The CRTC, Canada's TV watchdog, said the pornography channel must follow industry codes on violence and equitable portrayals of the sexes.
The new service, billed as Canada's Playboy Channel, promises a range of
erotic-themed dramas, reality shows, documentaries and variety and magazine shows. The Quebec broadcaster also will broadcast its soft-core pornographic content in HD.
Canadian cable and satellite TV services already feature a host of XXX-rated
pay TV adult content, but they source the programming from U.S. suppliers.
Hutchinson said the Canadian pornography station will be given some form of preference, likely a lower channel number that will result in higher viewership.
lamented that while the CRTC has approved new pornography channels, it also recently rejected two applications for Christian radio stations in the Ottawa area.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada will now try to convince Canadians not to
subscribe to the Vanessa channel: If it goes on air and it doesn't have enough subscribers, then the channel will die of a natural death .
A new Ofcom watching blog has sprung into life at Wordpress. It introduces itself:
OFWATCH has been set up to monitor the actions of the numerous quangos that hinder out daily lives. It aims to expose the
malpractice and injustice of these organisations whenever possible. OFWATCH poses the question why should the British taxpayer have to put up with such poor treatment?
And starts off with a good rumour:
OFWATCH has received sketchy information that a Babe Channel (currently transmitting on Astra at 28E) is to launch a UK aimed service from another Euro satellite and also via the internet.
The decision is thought to come about following the continued hardening of Ofcom policy on soft erotic entertainment broadcasts.
The possibility of MultiChoice broadcasting pornography has been laid to rest.
The company has decided against broadcasting pornography and the possibility of new sex channels on DStv's satellite service.
Since the end of last month,
several nutter groups have had predictably vehement reactions against the idea.
MultiChoice has announced that it had studied research data compiled by means of a subscriber survey to determine how viewers feel about adult content on pay TV
channels. According to a statement, the research showed that a significant percentage of subscribers are opposed to adult channels, while some don't mind, and another significant percentage are in favour .
Nolo Letele, MultiChoice chief
executive, said it's a pity that people interpreted the research as if the decision had already been made. According to him, such research often includes questions about content which has been requested by subscribers, or channels which are popular
abroad: The survey three weeks ago focussed on adult content since our industry will soon be facing competition in South Africa.
DStv, the South African satellite pay-TV is considering broadcasting pornography in one if its channels or creating a new channel, Die Burger newspaper reports.
The newspaper reports that MultiChoice has been immersed with requests for adult
entertainment on DStv.
Jackie Rakitla, general manager of corporate affairs at MultiChoice, is quoted as saying: At this stage we're merely doing research to determine the extent of interest in adult content, and we're looking at the
feasibility of implementing such a service.
MultiChoice is looking different broadcasting options, such as the broadcasting of mixed pornography - hardcore porn between 21:00 and 05:00 and soft porn between 05:00 and 21:00 – or hardcore
porn 24 hours per day, or soft porn 24 hours per day on DStv.
If DSTV went ahead with plans for a channel featuring pornographic content, it would be like pouring fuel on the fires of sexual abuse and exploitation , the Christian Action Network have claimed.
CAN international coordinator Taryn Hodgson
said in a statement that considering the high incidents of rape, child abuse and sexual violence against women, it was unacceptable for DSTV to be be considering a porn channel.
Should DSTV introduce such a channel they would be supporting
those that exploit, objectify and degrade women, she said: Porn violates women's constitutional rights to dignity and equality.
CAN has urged its affiliates, who are DSTV subscribers, to fill in the channel's online survey on the issue.
Should DSTV go ahead with such a channel, the Christian Action Network will urge its affiliates to cancel their DSTV subscriptions, Hodgson said.
We're barely into the new decade and already reading about freedom issues in Italy is like scanning a long war bulletin. The situation was poor 20 years ago, but it has worsened since Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's entrance in politics. In the last
six months it has taken the steepest downhill path one could imagine. In the 80s and '90s Berlusconi's television channels represented editorial innovation and business success. But in the last 10 years Italian's appetite for the Berlusconi style of
programming has waned.
No doubt prompted by the economic success of Murdoch's Sky Italia satellite platform, Berlusconi has begun using his government to pass laws that damage Sky TV to the sole advantage of the bottom line of his TV media empire.
He is passing laws to protect his privacy, while at the same time classifying as top secret information about illegal wiretaps on intellectual and political leaders of the opposition. Nevertheless, during his recent visit to Israel, Berlusconi accused
the Italian press of orchestrating the harshest ever media campaign against a prime minister.
In a law which took effect last week, movies and shows forbidden to under 14s will be banned on any TV platform up to 10.30 pm, even if it's pay per
view. This is a clear blow to Murdoch's Sky, as they have just launched a series of pay-per-view 24/7 porn channels. Looking through this legislation I realised something funny: while movies like Grease are to banned, live shows with almost naked girls
will still be legally broadcasted. In fact this law was always in place, it has just been extended to the new satellite platform, but as an Italian I had never noticed its impact, as I am pretty used to seeing semi-erotic dances on most of Italian
channels, at any time of the day. Indeed, Berlusconi made his fortune on "immoral" TV. As an anonymous commenter wrote on the site of Republica, if this law was to be respected, we would need to shut down all of Berlusconi's television stations
from 7am to 10.30 pm.
Berlusconi censorship proposals targeted at Murdoch's revenue
21st January 2010. From businessweek.com
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has proposed new media rules would forbid the sale of pay-per-view pornography and other adult programming during daylight hours, a measure that would hurt revenue at News Corp.'s Sky Italia.
Murdoch's Italian satellite unit is the country's largest pay-television service and has five pay-per-view channels with adult content during the day and 22 at night. Sky Italia had 45 million euros ($63 million) in sales from porn programming, half of
all pay-per-view revenue, according to a report in October in L'Espresso magazine.
Berlusconi is the country's biggest media owner and controls Mediaset, the largest private TV broadcaster and a Sky Italia competitor.
This rule goes
against personal freedom, Marco Crispino, chief executive officer of pay-per-view sports and porn broadcaster Conto TV, said in an interview. The Cascina, Italy-based company's porn channel is going rather well, but if they block transmission it
would hurt us economically. We made investments, bought broadcast rights, Crispino said.
Undersecretary of Communications Paolo Romani promised to change the regulations, Luca Barbareschi, a lawmaker in Berlusconi's People of Liberty party,
said late yesterday in an interview: They need to be changed because they are a folly, Barbareschi, who is also a film star, said. We can't make rules that favor just one person, he said, referring to Berlusconi.
would lower the number of advertising minutes per hour allowed on pay-TV channels to 12 from 18 by 2012, while Mediaset's free-to-air broadcast channels will be able to increase advertising minutes to 12 from 6 per hour. That would also limit revenue at
Update: Media regulator criticises censorship bill
27th January 2010.
An Italian government decree seeking to regulate video content on
television and the Internet drew criticism from the head of Italy's telecommunications regulator, media reports said.
The new regulations, set for approval on February 5, would require satellite TV channels to obscure pornographic content during
daytime and may require websites hosting video to seek a licence from the communication ministry.
The pre-emptive authorisation (of web video) ends up being a bureaucratic filter, said Corrado Calabro, head of the telecommunications
The new rules have already incensed opposition and telecoms industry figures.
Former communications minister Paolo Gentiloni, an opposition politician, called it a real scandal, peppered with gifts to Mediaset , the
television group owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, by hobbling suppliers of alternative entertainment at a time when Mediaset's audiences are shrinking.
Google, owner of YouTube, has expressed concern over the decree, saying it amounts to
censorship and would subject the video-sharing website to the same responsibilities as a television network newscast.