Decision by Ofcom - E Entertainment UK Limited

Published date16 November 2012
IssuerOffice of Communications
Sanction 78(12) E Entertainment UK Ltd
Sanction: Decision by Ofcom
Imposed on E Entertainment UK Limited
For material broadcast on 27 December 2011 at 10:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 21:001.
Consideration of Sanction
against: E Entertainment UK Limited (“E Entertainment”) and (the
“Licensee”) in respect of its service E! Entertainment
(E!) (TLCS-524).
For: Breaches of the February 2011 version of Ofcom’s
Broadcasting Code (the “Code”)2 in respect of:
Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by
appropriate scheduling from material
that is unsuitable for them.
Meaning of “children”: Children are
people under the age of 15 years.
Meaning of “appropriate scheduling”:
Appropriate scheduling should be judged
according to:
the nature of the content;
the likely number and age range of
children in the audience, taking into
account school time, weekends and
the start time and finish time of the
the nature of the channel ot station
and the particular programme; and
the likely expectations of the
audience for a particular channel of
station at a particular time and on a
particular day.
Decision: To impose a financial penalty (payable
to HM Paymaster General) of £40,000
To direct the Licensee to broadcast a
statement of Ofcom’s findings on a date
and in a form to be determined by
1 See Broadcast Bulletin 204, dated 23 April 2012 (known as “the Finding”):
2 See Broadcasting Code (dated 28 February 2011):
Sanction 78(12) E Entertainment UK Ltd
Case Summary
1. E! is an American celebrity based entertainment service broadcast on cable and satellite
platforms in the UK. The licence for the service is held by E Entertainment UK Limited
(“E Entertainment”) or (“the Licensee”)3.
2. In Ofcom’s Finding (“the Finding”) published on 23 April 2012 in Broadcast Bulletin 2044,
the Executive found that material broadcast by the Licensee breached Rule 1.3 of the
3. That material comprised of episodes from the series Girls of the Playboy Mansion which
were broadcast on 27 December 2011 from 10:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 21:00 (“the
4. In the Finding, Ofcom stated that the contravention of Rule 1.3 was serious and that the
Licensee was being considered for statutory sanction.
5. The Finding set out specific examples of broadcast material that were in breach of Rule
1.3. Ofcom found that the material in these examples was not appropriately scheduled
and resulted in the broadcast of material that was unsuitable for children.
6. In the Finding, Ofcom first considered whether the material was suitable for children. In
Ofcom’s opinion these episodes of Girls of the Playboy Mansion were clearly unsuitable
for children. They included prolonged sequences of nudity (albeit with breasts, buttocks
and genitals blurred), particularly during the consecutive episodes showing the search
for the 55th Playmate glamour model. These sequences featured numerous scenes of
the models being filmed as they posed and were photographed during casting sessions
for Playboy magazine. In addition, there was a sequence of the lingerie party at the
Playboy Mansion which featured numerous scantily clad Playboy glamour models posing
for the cameras; and shots of a male stripper wearing a thong thrusting his buttocks in
the face of the mother of one of Mr Hefners girlfriends, with a commentary: “she needed
a good ass in her face”. The episodes also featured repeated bleeped and masked
offensive language throughout, which (taken together with the scenes of nudity)
demonstrated in Ofcom’s opinion that these programmes contained themes of an adult
nature and were aimed at an adult audience.
7. Ofcom then went on to consider whether the material was appropriately scheduled.
These episodes were broadcast consecutively at various times during the day on a Bank
Holiday during the Christmas period when it was likely that children some
unaccompanied by an adult - would have been watching. Further, no announcement was
3 Comcast, the parent company of E Entertainment UK Limited completed an acquisition of NBCUniversal
(“NBCU”) in January 2011 and following that date a programme of integration commenced between the
international channel groups of E Entertainment and NBCUniversal.
The channel compliance function for E!, at the time of the relevant Broadcasts, was based in Los Angeles (“LA”)
and the NBCU compliance function for the NBCU licensed channels based in London. However, a London based
manager based at NBCU retained the overall compliance responsibility for the LA based compliance operation.
This same NBCU member of staff provided written representations to Ofcom in October/November 2011 in
respect of two previous breach decisions recorded in Broadcast Bulletin 195 in December 2011. In February
2012, formal control of the compliance function was transferred from LA to NBCU in London.
4 See Finding at:

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