U.K. Ad Watchdog Tells BSkyB to Withdraw Ad Touting 'Instant' Movie Rentals

BSkyB Satellite - Sign - 2010
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The Advertising Standards Authority argued that an ad for the Sky Store movie rental service misled consumers by exaggerating its speed.

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority, the British advertising watchdog, has told pay TV giant BSkyB to withdraw an ad that promoted the ability to "rent movies instantly." The group said Wednesday that the claim was misleading.

Telecom giant and pay TV rival BT had complained that the BSkyB claim of an "instant" offer via its Sky Store movie rental service misled consumers by exaggerating the speed.

BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake, had argued that consumers would understand that "instantly" meant a process involving a quick download to their Sky+ set top box that would allow them to "begin viewing within seconds, as opposed to minutes," ASA said on its web site.

"We considered that a delay of up to a minute for most customers (and longer for those with slower broadband connections) would not be in line with their reasonable expectations for an online movie service which was described as 'instant'," the watchdog said. "We therefore considered that the ad had exaggerated the capabilities of the service and we concluded that it was likely to mislead."

"The ad must not appear again in its current form," ASA said. "We told Sky to ensure future ads did not exaggerate the speed."

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