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ASCI upheld complaints against Zee Business, ET Now and Dish TV

MUMBAI: The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against Zee Business, ET Now and Dish TV India for false advertisement claims. In February 2017, ASCI upheld complaints against 242 out of 305 advertisements.

The claim against ZEE Business states that the advertisement’s claim, ‘No1, Business News Channel,’ was not substantiated and is in violation of BARC guidelines. BARC specifies that for making a leadership claim the channel must present comparative data for ‘4 consecutive clock hours and 4 consecutive weeks’. This stipulation is clearly not met by both the executions. While the source of data is clearly stated, the usage guidelines are not met. Also, the advertisements are framed so as to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge.

ET Now, on the other hand, claimed of having a higher comparative audience/viewership. This claim did not meet the BARC standard for ‘Single Event’. Further, the manner of communicating the competitive comparison between ET Now and CNBC TV18 violates BARC guidelines and constitutes a misleading assertion. While the geographic and demographic conditions for ‘Single Event’ were met, the critical stipulation about increased ratings during the day part was not met. It also stated that the advertisement fails to comply with BARC guidelines both per se and in the manner of comparing ET Now with its competitors. The basis of comparison shares based on Impressions ‘000 is permissible. However, the comparison of shares with other channels (“ET Now 46%, CNBC TV18 43%”) is not compliant with BARC guidelines.

Dish TV’s claims of “Watching TV won’t put strain on your eyes anymore!” and “without putting strain on your kid’s eyes” were not substantiated with credible published scientific evidence and are misleading by exaggeration. Any child unable to read a black board needs an urgent ophthalmic evaluation and suggesting HD TV as one of the solutions (“Don’t let your child’s eye become weak. Start with changing your TV connection”) is misleading.

Out of 242 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 165 belonged to the Healthcare category, 31 to the Education category, followed by 19 in the Food & Beverages category, 9 in Personal Care Category, and 18 advertisements from other categories.