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Sky On Demand TV Advert Banned over FREE Broadband Conflict

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 (7:46 am) - Score 1,471
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BT has successfully caused one of Sky’s direct mailing adverts to be banned because it promoted the operators On Demand TV service alongside their “free broadband” product, which is capped via a 2GB usage allowance and thus “would significantly limit the amount of Catch Up content that could be downloaded“.

The promotion, which was headed “Brand new Sky Bundles … Award-winning TV that revolves around you from £21.50 a month“, touted a variety of Sky’s On Demand TV services (e.g. Sky Go, Catch Up TV etc.) and stated that an Internet connection was required. Some additional text then said “Get even more Add free broadband” and the small print noted that this option included a 2GB usage allowance, which was also qualified by saying that “a 30 minute show typically uses 0.5GB“.

As a result BT moaned to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the promotion was misleading because it did not make “sufficiently clear that taking the free broadband would significantly limit the amount of catch up TV content that customers could view“. Sky disagreed and said that the bundle also included some Catch Up content that was sent to the Sky boxes directly via satellite.

ASA Ruling (REF: A13-236328)

Although Sky said that it was not necessary for customers to connect their Sky box to broadband we noted the ad stated “Broadband connection required” and we understood that, to fully utilise the Catch Up TV service, consumers would need to have broadband and that without this they would be limited to the selected content only.

In this context we considered it was significant material information and that by choosing the “free broadband” offered would significantly limit the amount of Catch Up content that could be downloaded extra to the selected content provided by Sky, compared to those with a broadband package that had a download limit more suited to downloading TV programmes or films. We considered that the reference to “free broadband” should have been more prominently qualified with a reference to the fact it was a package with a 2 GB limit and therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”

As usual the advert was banned and Sky warned to ensure that qualifications around “free broadband” offers were sufficiently prominent in future.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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