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Video on-demand services: Guidance on advertisements published

2 October 2014

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has published new guidance on the placement of advertisements in video on-demand services.

The guidance was drawn up by the CAP in consultation with the Industry Forum, a body established by the Author for Television On Demand (the industry's independent co-regulator) to represent on-demand services providers.

Video on-demand services can be watched at any time and frequently carry advertisements either around or during content. CAP believes that this presents a risk “that the placement of ads featuring certain themes might cause harm to children, serious or widespread offence to audiences in general, or be socially irresponsible.”

Therefore, the guidance has been published in response to a need to enable service providers to better comply with the CAP Code and avoid placing advertisements irresponsibly.

It has also provided the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) with the opportunity to address and understand video on-demand issues.

Whilst the ASA will always assess advertising complaints on a case by case basis, the guidance sets out best practice approaches for service providers to best ensure CAP Code compliance. These practical steps include:

  • The appropriate classification of programmes – the guidance states that service providers should be able to demonstrate that the audience of a programme was appropriate for the content of the advertisement (through the use of audience data and indexing data for example)
  • The application of timing restrictions – which are encouraged, although the ASA will have specific regard to the timing technology used in making any assessment (in recognition of the differing technologies that are available)
  • The use of access controls (such as parental controls or user account details) –which should reduce the need for other types of restrictions
  • Clearcast’s pre-clearance regime – the guidance states that there is no specific requirement for on-demand service providers to pre-clear advertising, although pre-clearance by Clearcast is acknowledged as a good route to CAP Code compliance

This article was written by Jason Saiban.

For more information please contact Jason on +44 (0)20 7203 5170 or jason.saiban@crsblaw.com