LONDON -- Playboy has been fined £22,500 ($33,150) by a UK media regulator for breaching programming code regarding adult content.
Playboy One, a free-to-air service in the adult section of the UK broadcaster Sky, launched in November 2005 and the Ofcom regulator's office claims the channel violated restrictions by transmitting "adult sex" content seven times in September,
November and December 2007. The service ended in September 2008.
According to Digital Spy, the agency investigated complaints about Jenna's American Sex Star, Adult Stars Close Up, Blue Collar Babes, Sexy Girls Next Door, Sexy Urban Legends, Sex House and Sex Guides, all airing between 11 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. during the cited period.
Ofcom accused Playboy One of "serious and repeated breaches" reports UK newspaper, The Guardian. The agency said programming "included sequences depicting masturbation, oral sex, clear labial detail, sexual intercourse and full nudity" as well as "strong language in an overtly sexual context".
"The explicitness, strength and/or sustained nature of the sexual content and language was unacceptable for broadcast on a free-to-air channel," the agency said. "The primary purpose of this material was sexual stimulation. None had a sufficient and clear editorial context to justify its broadcast."
Playboy argued that the channel's placement Playboy One in the clearly-noted adult section of Sky programming, along with features such as PIN protection and channel-block options protected viewers from just stumbling on the content. While the company admitted that Jenna's American Sex Star was unsuitable for broadcast "in its current form," it said the other shows did not breach Ofcom code, based on past complaints rejected by the agency.
Ofcom ruled the content was unacceptable on an unencrypted free-to-air channel, adding that encryption should have been in place. In issuing the fine, the agency said, "The breaches, when taken together, demonstrated a serious and repeated failure by the licensee to comply with the code."
Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.