Ad for Adult Phone Line Acceptable at 1:30 am during Batman, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, February 2, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a commercial for an adult telephone line broadcast on Teletoon Retro.  The animation specialty service broadcast the commercial at 1:30 am Eastern time.  The CBSC found no problem with its broadcast at that time, even though it was during Batman: The Animated Series, a program rated C8 (for children 8 years of age and over).  Two adjudicators dissented.

The 30-second commercial was for a service called The Night Exchange and featured a group of attractive women who encouraged viewers to call in order to “show off your fun side”.  One woman said “sometimes it gets so good.  We decide to take it to the next level.”  All of the women were fully clothed.  There was no sexually explicit material in the commercial, nor anything that informed viewers that the service was a sex line rather than just an adult chat line.

A viewer complained that the commercial appeared during Batman, which Teletoon Retro rated C8 (targeted at children 8 years and older).  He explained that he recorded Batman for his children to watch and that a program for children should not contain adult advertisements regardless of the time at which it is broadcast.

The majority of the CBSC’s National Specialty Services Panel concluded that, even though the station rated the program C8, it was not really targeted at children when aired at 1:30 am.  The broadcaster was, therefore, allowed to air adult-oriented commercials during the Watershed period of 9:00 pm to 6:00 am and there was no violation of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics.  Two adjudicators dissented.  They argued that the conclusion of the majority means that a “children’s program” ceases to be a children’s program, and ratings become meaningless, during the Watershed period.  They stated that this result is illogical and unfair to viewers who have taken the time to use the rating system to set their television blocking technology.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 750 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab