Adult channel fined 18k for unprotected 'sex'

The operator of free-to-air channel Blue Kiss TV has been fined 17,500 for broadcasting what Ofcom terms "adult sex" without PIN protection.

Broadcasters may only show explicit sexual content if it is encrypted and protected by a PIN or other system to stop children watching.

A viewer alerted the regulator that on the night of May 27 Blue Kiss TV, which is owned by Square 1 Management Limited and formerly titled Smile TV, was showing very explicit material. The "babe" channel features presenters chatting and urging viewers to phone premium rate lines to "chat".

Ofcom reviewed the coverage and found a presenter's actions had been "so explicit and prolonged, particularly the visual images, that it was 'adult sex' material". As well as being too explicit for an unencrypted channel, the material broke rules on standards and offensiveness, the regulator said.

Ofcom, which has warned operators of FTA adult chat channels on several occasions in the past, decided the size of its fine should act as a deterrent to the operator and others.

Square 1 Management argued "the style of the programme was entirely appropriate in context and, whilst mildly erotic, was substantially 'milder' in nature than the type of content that appears regularly on pay per view/subscription channels".

The company later conceded it had breached the Broadcasting Code and provided a signed statement from the presenter who was on screen at the time, who had since resigned, taking personal responsibility.