Hong Kong broadcaster ViuTV avoids penalties after advertising breaches and ‘disgusting’ content

Communications Authority issues warning over programmes, including a talk show featuring hosts and guests eating food smeared on other people’s armpits

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 11:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 11:04pm

ViuTV has escaped penalties ­despite the broadcasting watchdog substantiating a string of complaints over indirect advertising and “disgusting” content in a number of its programmes.

A statement from the Communications Authority stopped short of imposing sanctions on ViuTV and instead advised the broadcaster to observe points in the code of practice regarding

TV advertising after two programmes, both of which were not in-house productions, were found to have breached the ­advertising guidelines.

Hong Kong’s ViuTV to launch new English channel in March next year

Five complaints lodged against Descendants of the Sun, a popular Korean drama series that aired between April and May, were substantiated by the authority. In three episodes, the name and the logo of a coffee shop could be identified in wide shots.

Hong Kong Television Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of telecommunications giant PCCW, which operates ViuTV, ­argued the shots were “editorially and contextually justified”. The firm said the shots did not attract any commercial return.

Another four complaints were received for the live broadcast of “Happy TVMost Birthday to Me”, an awards ceremony by online parody platform TVMost in May.

Pair hit back at Hong Kong TV station in ‘improper speeches’ row

ViuTV said the live broadcast did not attract any sponsorship or payment from a furniture brand or a hair product brand, which were featured in the show.

The authority advised the broadcaster to “observe more closely” points in the TV Programme Code, which prohibit ­indirect advertising and giving any commercial service undue prominence.

Meanwhile, a ViuTV late-night talk show, which attracted 14 complaints in October and 15 the month before for “disgusting” content, including hosts and guests eating food smeared on other people’s armpits, was also given a warning. The authority ­advised the broadcaster to adhere to the code guidelines on content.