KBP Weighs in on Commercial Overload Issue against ABS-CBN

Article excerpt

Recent tabloid reports brought up an issue against ABS-CBN concerning apparent commercial overloading. Citing recent Nielsen hourly load tracking data from the period of June 26 to July 2, it was said that the network supposedly committed "61 cases of overloading."

To illustrate this point, the reports also cited that last July 1, ABS-CBN's noontime show "Wowowee" had registered a "total of 34.5 commercial ad load minutes" during its 1pm to 2pm segment. This, according to the article that also appeared online, "is nearly double the cap on ad loads per hour that KBP [Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas] is supposedly reinforcing."

While it is unclear if there are any complainants at this point that instigated the news items, what is clear is that the KBP's Revised Version of the Television Code, which is available on their website (www.kbp.org.ph), states in its Advertising Standards section under the Time Standards for Non-Program Materials article, that, "Commercial load for television in Metro Manila shall not exceed eighteen (18) minutes per hour in foreign or local programs, inclusive of breakspots."

Given this rule, there is reason to call the network's attention, but more so the KBP's. But the association's non-action, as the tabloid pieces have put forth, apparently has a valid reason.

"It should be put in context," says Atty. Rudolph Jularbal, Chief Legal Counsel of the KBP, in an exclusive interview with Bulletin Entertainment. "There is such an 18-minute rule in our advertising time standard. However, when GMA resigned from KBP, the Board passed a resolution imposing a moratorium on that rule because the resignation of GMA put a member of KBP at a disadvantage." Indeed, with GMA leaving, they would no longer be subject to the said ruling.

According to the reports, GMA had pulled out of the KBP in 2003. Atty. Jularbal, however, conferred with the staff at KBP and said the network left in 2005. Regardless of this discrepancy, the legal counsel said that the moratorium had been imposed "shortly after GMA pulled out of KBP."

Atty. Juralbal admits that GMA left the KBP precisely because of the commercial overloading issue. "Sinasabi nila is, meron tayong commercial load regulation na hindi nasusunod- They were saying na why are we being penalized while some networks are not-"

But perhaps what is startling is that a major network could actually operate outside the regulations of a broadcasting association like the KBP. "Membership in the KBP is purely voluntary," he clarifies. "Everybody's subject to the NTC [National Telecommunications Commission] in so far as technical operations. [But] When it comes to trade and commercial practices, as well as some ethical practices, then they'll just have to regulate themselves. …