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ADJUDICATION NO: 51/A /2012

NAME OF PROGRAMME: SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, 21h58 ON 2.10.2012

BROADCASTER: SABC 3

COMPLAINANT: TANYA BOSHOFF

ADJUDICATOR: BCCSA ADJUDICATOR

COMPLAINT

Complaint that promo showed the method how to smoke Tik at a time when children could still have formed part of the audience.

APPLICABLE RULE

Clause 6(1) of Free-to-Air Broadcasting Code of Conduct:

Broadcasting service licensees must not broadcast material which is harmful or disturbing to children at times when a large number of children are likely to be part of the audience.

ADJUDICATION

[1] The complaint refers to a promo for a Special Assignment episode that was broadcast on 2 October 2012 at 21h58. The complainant contends that an explicit scene shows exactly how to smoke Tik. The complaint reads as follows.“Promo showing how a woman abuses the drug Tik. Visually shows the woman (supposedly a mother) putting the drug, Tik, into the pipe, lighting it, and smokingit. No warning was given of the nature of this promo prior to the promo being shown. People are not able to decide whether they want to see how this drug is abused by watching the “Special Assignment” show. People already see the sensitive content of the show promoted without any warning. Most teenagers are still awake after watching the TV show “The Good Wife” and would have caught the promo straight after the show. Previous addicts could also be watching TV and would not want to be reminded of this. This promo is so graphic that someone who does not know how this drug is abused suddenly is taught how to abuse it. Not everybody wants to see the show, but now everybody is subject to the sensitive content of the show unexpectedly. Surely this content can be kept for when the show is aired after warning of its content. I assume the reason for the show is: 1. awareness to try and combat the Tik addiction in the Cape flats; and 2. awareness of an increase in Tik babies due to addicted mothers, but airing such content in an promo defeats the object. This promo is harmful to the general public and in my opinion must be amended to not show such harmful content.”

The broadcaster responded as follows: “The promo for Special Assignment was broadcast well into the watershed period at 22:00. The promo displayed the episode’s advisory of PG13. We submit that there has been no contravention of the BCCSA Code.” I watched the promo and understand the complainant’s concern about the scene showing the direct use of Tik. However, it must be borne in mind that Special Assignment is a current affairs investigative documentary series, with the aim to uncover the truth about news events and the people involved in them. The promo in question can be described as cautionary since it is quite clear that it relates to a film intended for adult audiences which will be broadcast after the start of the watershed. It is also clear that the destructive effects of drug abuse will be addressed in the programme and that people who use Tik need to carefully consider their behaviour and the consequences of their actions. Typical of the genre of television advertising, the scene is also very fleeting of nature. The Code of Conduct specifies that promotional material which contains explicit scenes intended for adult audiences must not be broadcast before the watershed period. In this case the promo was broadcast after the watershed and the programme’s advisory of PG13 was displayed.

The issue of drug abuse is of great importance and concern to our nation, and part of the educative and informative task of the SABC is to reflect reality accurately and to raise awareness about destructive behaviour. However, as long as such behaviour is not presented as the norm, or approved of, it may serve an educational purpose. In the case of the scene under discussion, the promo makes it clear that the behaviour of the character is definitely not approved of and the use of drugs is not glamorised, condoned or encouraged. The complainant raises the concern that many teenagers could still have been in the audience after watching “The Good Wife”. It is possible, but in today’s world, it becomes more and more difficult to shield teenagers (and younger children) from the social ills of society and it serves no purpose to turn a blind eye on reality. One of the aims of current affairs programmes is to open the eyes of viewers to the dangers of life, a task which is not always sufficiently addressed by parents with regard to their children. The media provide a context for interpreting the world around us. This is one of the consequences of living in a media-saturated society and also the reason why content advisories are provided. In this case, if children under the age of 13 were exposed to the promo accidentally, hopefully they would not have understood the scene for what it was, which would reduce the possibility of imitation.

The legal test in determining whether material is permissible or not, is based on whether the reasonable viewer, who is broadminded, balanced and not overly sensitive, would allow the material to be available to other viewers even if he or she would not choose to be exposed to it. The contemporary South African level of tolerance is thus taken into account, as well as the contemporary mores of society. The test is not whether the BCCSA would regard material as appropriate or not, the question is whether the broadcaster has exceeded the limits of its freedom of expression. In this case the promo may seem risqué, but is not sufficiently over the edge to be in breach of the Broadcasting Code. In case children or teenagers were exposed to it, it might even have provided an opportunity for parents to discuss the consequences of drug abuse with them. The complainant mentions that “previous addicts could also be watching TV and would not want to be reminded of this”.

Cases where a complaint is lodged on behalf of other people are difficult to judge since it is unknown what these people’s reaction might have been or whether they are even aware of the broadcast. It would be presumptuous for the BCCSA to come to a decision without hearing their personal views. Broadcasters should nonetheless bear in mind that children and teenagers may form part of the audience at any time and exposure to promos are effectively impossible to control because there is no schedule available for when they are shown. Although the scene in question is fleeting, it was nevertheless quite clear. The broadcaster is urged to be extremely careful in the choice of clips that are used in promos and in the choice of timeslots for promos carrying disturbing material of any nature. In the result, no contravention of the Code could be found and the complaint is not upheld.

SOURCE: BCCSA

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In a nutshell: Radio growth and advertising

Posted by radio On September - 25 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Helen Phushela

 

Radio is the most important medium in South Africa reaching over 88% of the population. Most people living in rural areas rely on it as a news and information source. Most stations that reach these areas are community radio stations that narrow down listenership and target market for advertisers into ethnic groups. An advertiser can produce an advert for a particular product which targets the right audience in their native language.

 

Advertising revenues increased in 2011 by 7.4%, which is lower than the 13.3% gained in 2010 a direct boost from the FIFA Soccer World Cup, according to research.

 

Radio, with its listenership covering 88% of the population, is still a dominant medium for broadcast advertising. The revenue increased by 7.1% on a compound annual rate from R3.2billion in 2011 to an estimated R4.6billion in 2016. Radio broadcast advertising as well as public funding revenue increased by 0.7% in 2011. Due to this, there has been a subsequent increase in television licence fee, which cross-subsidise the public radio station. With more and more households gaining access to television, public funding is projected at 1.5% increase compound annual rate to R480 million in 2016.

 

Radio consists of three segments namely public service broadcasting sector, commercial sector and community radio stations. Public broadcaster, SABC is state owned and funded through public licence fees and advertising. It operates public service stations in all of the official languages including Indian on Lotus FM and San on X-K FM.

 

Online radio streaming has allowed consumers to listen to their favourite programmes on the go. The frenzy to create applications for broadcasters has also taken the industry by storm. Jacaranda and 5Fm have their own apps, while other stations can be accessed on a group app such as TFS Radio. Radio programming is broadcast in all 11 official languages, as well as German, Hindi, Portuguese, Greek and Khoi-San languages.

 

Radio is the leading broadcasting medium in South Africa; Kwazulu Natal is the front-runner in radio listenership, claiming 20% of the total population. It is closely followed by Gauteng with 19% and Limpopo and Eastern Cape each at 13%. Regardless of the current RAMS for ethnic radio stations, radio shows produced in English remain dominant in South African radio taking up 41.1% of listenership in 2011. IsiZulu follows with 13.5% then Afrikaans at 9.3%.

 

Music however, still serves as a key ingredient to reaching and retaining audiences. Then there is phone in talk shows, current affairs and news programming.

 

Community radio stations claim more listeners as a collective with 8.5 million people tuning in each week – comprising of more than a quarter of the overall radio listening audience. Despite their reach, community radio stations still struggle to get advertising funding while some radio stations get subsidies from government or rely on community donations. The role of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is to ensure universal access, as well as to mediate disputes brought against licensees and regulate the industry. ICASA issued three invitations in February 2012 to provide commercial sound broadcasting in primary and secondary markets. Primary market, the authority, awarded two licenses in Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town. One license was awarded to Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, one in Free State.

 

Research by the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) showed a decline in the time spent listening to radio, a nine minute decline daily listenership as compared to the 1:33 minutes from the previous year. This took place when the weekly penetration declined by 0.1%. On the other hand, the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) promotes the use of radio as an advertising media. The focus is to educate the advertising community on the advantages of using radio as an advertising medium. Radio has launched online and is gradually migrating digitally, one can now comment on and follow the development of their favourite radio shows through social media tools such as Facebook pages and Twitter handle.

 

Branded content advertising, a relatively new form of advertising medium that blurs conventional distinctions between what constitutes advertising and what constitutes entertainment, will soon be integrated into programming. In the old days radio adverts were 30 seconds long and often left listeners perplexed. Advertisers in radio are now creating adverts that are more than a 30 seconds long. An example is FNB’s ‘Hello Steve’ campaign, which moved away from the traditional 30-second slot. According to reports, this campaign earned accolades throughout the industry and produced great results for FNB. Roles in adverts have now changed – the idea exists before a time period has been set.

 

Then there is the return of the jingle. Jingles and pneumatic trigger instant brand recognition in the hearts and minds of the listeners. These help brands build firm relationships with listeners and stand out from the media clutter. Radio with its online migration and popularity can now brand and promote products.

 

Another phenomenon is station-advertiser collaboration which, allows marketers the need to collaborate with stations, increasingly becoming content generators with the focus of entertaining and engaging listeners.

 

Power of personality is one of radio’s strengths which, lies in the personal relationship created between listeners and radio personalities. With the ever-expanding scope of radio presenters’ influence via social media platforms, we’ll see more brands matching themselves to a show or host.

 

More and more people are able to listen to their favourite show online and podcasts enable listeners to catch up on shows. Satellite radio is usually carried by a signal through the DStv’s audio bouquet however, not many people use this unconventional method of listening to radio.

 

Digital radio will allow radio to have sound quality of a CD and live streams of information on music played on shows will also allow the station to get information easily. In public funding there has been a 2% increase, from 442 million to 449 million in 2012. Radio stations such as Ja.fm, launched by Jacaranda FM, can only be connected to online and it serves an Afrikaans audience through a Listener Driven Radio application.

 

Wolrdtunes.net-All Hit is one of the radio stations which are music-orientated where listeners vote for songs and hit songs are played. Ballz Radio covers current affairs and news.

 

According to the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMRO), although radio has seen success over the years, it still faces the obstacles of paying 10% of its net broadcasting revenue to songwriters. The National Association of Broadcasters remains in dispute with this even after the recent judgement of 7% payable by stations passed by the Commission of Copyright at the Copyright tribunal.

 

South African broadcasters have to adhere to Constitutional laws since SA does not have established national media laws. This poses a problem to the regulation of broadcast media where the regulation rights that run broadcast media and different stations come from the Broadcasting Complains Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) and ICASA.

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