back to article BT wins ad watchdog ruling against BSkyB's 'instant movie' claim

BT successfully argued to the UK's advertising regulator that BSkyB had misled its customers in a press ad that claimed the company's new rental movie service could be accessed "instantly". The ASA agreed with the national telco, which challenged BSkyB's assertions about the speed at which punters could rent the films via the …


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  1. John H Woods

    While we're at it ...

    Sky GO - available on compatible Android Devices. Sounds like you might need an up-to-date device?

    You'd be completely wrong - if you have a version of Android less than a couple of years old, you can forget it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: While we're at it ...

      Curious that because it works perfectly with my Galaxy S2 running ICS.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: While we're at it ...

        I don't think it's the Android version, but some device limitation. Sky GO (assuming that is what the app is called) is not visible in the market on stock JB on a Nexus S (in the UK on Vodafone). Sky+, Sky News, and a few others are.

        What that limitation is I'm not sure, because screen resolutions between the S2 and NS are the same and I'm pretty sure the market doesn't support filtering based on CPU speed/RAM, which is the only real difference I can think of between the two devices.

        1. Shane8

          Re: While we're at it ...

          Downloaded it on Galaxy Nexus (with JB - on O2) and its not compatible with the phone....

        2. illiad

          Re: While we're at it ... stock JB on a Nexus S?

          could it be it needs flash????

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: While we're at it ... stock JB on a Nexus S?

            "could it be it needs flash????"

            I'm the NS JB poster - A fair point, although I have Flash installed (although hadn't tested it with JB) so I've just gone on iPlayer and started streaming something, which worked fine, so it's probably not Flash that's limiting it.

            I'm also a Android developer and I've never seen anywhere in the publish options to restrict an application based on other applications that are installed on the device. You would normally check with the package manager when the user needs a feature supplied by another application and then direct them to the market to install it.

    2. John H Woods

      Re: While we're at it ...

      Sorry if I got this wrong - couldn't get it to run on Nexus 7 and googling suggested that only older versions of Android worked.

    3. leexgx

      Re: While we're at it ...

      Skygo will only work on like 13 Android phones (most of them old HTC phones), it work on any iphone as long its Not jailbroken phone (updated versions seem to detect it, there is an version that does work on an jailbroken phone not sure what version) (press more)


      ((((What are the handset requirements?

      Sky Go is supported on the following Android smartphones running on 2.2, 2.3 & 4.0 operating systems: HTC Desire, HTC Desire S, HTC Desire HD, HTC Incredible, HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XE, Google Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note.

      Please note that if existing Sky Go users with OS versions 2.2, 2.3 or 4.0 choose to upgrade to v4.1 (Jelly Bean) they will not be able to stream content through the Sky Go app until the operating system can be fully supported.))))

  2. Recaf

    Oh, the hypocracy

    So, the ASA block an ad for using "instant" to mean <1 minute, but still allow mobile networks to describe <1GB of internet usage as "Unlimited".

    Oh well, at least they seem to be heading in the right direction...

    1. JonGuildford

      Re: Oh, the hypocracy

      It's even worse. When when I signed up to BT broadband they were advertising "Unlimited" data but when you get on the phone they tell you it's limited to 100GB. Outright lie basically. Pot, Kettle black.

  3. The Axe
    Thumb Down


    So can we see the same decision being made about "instant on" PCs when in actual fact it takes a few seconds to boot up.

    No. I didn't think so.

    This is all about competitors using the ASA and wasting money and time with it rather than updating their own services and making them better than the other's. Did any member of the public complain? Probably not. Because believe it or not, the public can understand that "instant" doesn't necessarily mean within femtoseconds, and is perfectly happy with something that starts within a short while (quicker than making a brew).

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Instant

      Sorry, but the definition of instant depends on what you're doing.

      "Instant" coffee - a damn sight quicker than normal coffee but you still have to heat the water, etc. so 1-2 minutes is fine so long as the "instant " bit (i.e. turning water into coffee) is quick. And it is.

      "Instant" finance - I would assume that it would take at least some financial checks, some form-filling, some credit histories, some mandatory period, some bank transfer time etc. The "instant" bit is that once they've said yes, the money goes in as quick as they possibly can.

      "Instant" streaming - I would assume was instantaneous - i.e. the second I clicked it, it would start trying to play and be playing within a few seconds (ala iPlayer). Saying the "instant" stream may take up to a minute to start isn't really playing fair (people with duff computers where iPlayer takes a minute to start aside)

      With computers, "instant" is a very, very powerful word because it is actually achievable and even the average householder sees "instant" streams (i.e. click on a YouTube link and within fractions of seconds, it's playing).

      So the ASA are quite right here. But yes, I doubt any consumer complained and it doesn't really matter now if the ad has finished its run. The ASA are the hindsight-watchdogs - powerless and ineffective and if you ask them to validate an ad BEFORE you run it, they refuse (i.e. we don't want the responsibility of approving something when we can just do nothing and wait for people to complain and then jump on the back of their complaints alone and "punish" companies in the most pathetic ways possible). It would be perfectly possible to run a series of ads, all of which were completely misleading, each of which was different, modify them to comply with recent ASA rulings on your other ads and NEVER have a customer get what they were advertised, and get only a token slap on the wrist from the ASA for doing so.

  4. ElNumbre

    Cutting ones own nose off?

    Two points on this for me -

    1) BT are saying (to the great unwashed) that on-demand services are no good because you can't start watching a programme for ages after you select it, because you've got a pants broadband line. So they're basically saying that their broadband is not fit for purpose, and don't bother with BT Vision either because that'll be slower than a particularly lazy sloth.

    2) Can Sky get round it by pre-caching a minute or two's worth of each movie on the harddrive of the Sky HD Box? The first minute of most movies is taken up with the distributors logo's anyway, so they could do a bit of clever playlist creation and reduce the size taken.

    When I watch anything on demand, I start the movie, immediatly pause it, then go make drinks/popcorn etc anyway giving at least a 5 minute buffer of content. I don't mind if a movie would take a minute or two to load, its the..


    ..interruptions I can't stand.

    1. leexgx

      Re: Cutting ones own nose off?

      what i found funny is if you fast forward it to the point where its not buffered yet it says error and then Boots you out of the streaming video compleatly

      Pre cacheing bit a lot of hard work they have a lot of content on there

  5. David Gosnell

    Whose ADSL network is it anyway, mostly?


  6. Matt_payne666

    and on the BT advert they advocate sharing your internet connection with the whole building... something not in thier T&C's...

    also you can do anything with a BT infinity router... anything is a very broad statement....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The misleading thing about the BT advert is that the girl shows the router connection strength meter and deduces that they must have a fast internet connection.

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: @Matt_payne666

        "and deduces that they must have a fast internet connection." - even after finding out it's BT Infinitlyslow...

      2. leexgx

        Re: @Matt_payne666

        ((((The misleading thing about the BT advert is that the girl shows the router connection strength meter and deduces that they must have a fast internet connection.))))

        maybe they can get an signal but can they connect to the router (in its default config)

        i agree as well as that the stupid hub N wireless part is partly incompatible with a lot of laptops, phones and wireless printers (Printers i found as the most incompatible with the hub3) switch off the N and Make sure you set the channel to an Fixed number (as that can make more issues then having N turned on)

        down side with the above you can never get more then 25-30mb out of 54g and if your on FTTC you need an new n300 router from the start (at least sky "cida" and talktalk do not have the issue with wireless N but i have only setup 1 sky and talktak setup on FTTC) BT i forget the FTTC part i have had to Fix the settings on loads of BThub3s (and to top that off you can't enable 40 and keep g on as well at the same time)

    2. spiny norman

      And the BT Infinity ad during the Olympics claims to be bringing us all together. Except, of course, all the people who live in places where it isn't available (not that I'm bitter or anything).

  7. SJRulez

    what a pointless exercise

    How about:

    Instant coffee

    Your money paid instantly (may take up to two hours)

    An instant quote online after half hour filling it out

    Its a good job the ASA don't advertise instant decisions or they would fall foul themselves but my absolute favorite is from the BT Infinity site:

    70 freeview channels and instant access to 1000s of pay-per-view shows with BT Vision

  8. spiny norman

    The ASA is all wrong from the start

    The ASA has turned into a mechanism for advertisers to score points off one another, and for the occasional busy body to be offended on some else's behalf. By the time judgement is passed, it's too late anyway, we've seen it.

    What is needed is a banner across the top of the screen throughout the ads, saying "WARNING!! This is an advert and very likely isn't true". It could even change for various types of ad, for example for toothpaste and hair products "WARNING!! This may sound scientific, but it's really utter nonsense".

    Then we could disband the ASA and use the money for something else.

    1. mark 63 Silver badge

      Re: The ASA is all wrong from the start

      spot on Norman, i'd go for:

      "A lot of the above is statistically likely to be bullshit , please research product before buying"

  9. The Guv

    Half truths.

    I've got my Sky+ box connected using BT Internet.

    Is it good - yes.

    Is it fast - yes it can be.

    Is it always fast - no.

    Who's at fault - Sky and peering networks IMO.

    The issue is Sky's service infrequently suffering service issues (through server or network links). I can normally watch HD content within a couple of mins but I have found several times (even outside peak hours) that it can be awful.

    I suspect it's probably a combo of Sky's service and network peering links having issues as having tested my broadband line out when having issues it was fine.

  10. Dave 15


    Mmm, not quick enough to be instant, yet what about all those b*****y adverts for washing powder, washing up liquid, fabric softeners. toilet cleaners et al which clearly never have and never will live up to the promises made?

    I assume that someone didn't ensure the cash passed over the right palm

    1. spiny norman

      Re: ASA

      Do a search, for example "proctor & gamble advertising standards complaints". You'll find both P&G and Unilver have had compaints upheld by ASA for misleading and exaggerated claims for laundry products in the last 2 years.

      What effect has this had on advertising for cleaning products? About as much as the damage caused to a bulldozer by flattening Arthur Dent.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The company "believed consumers understood that services provided over the internet would be affected by the speed of their broadband connection,"....

    That's totally fine as everyone has an up to a 20mb connection apparently. What you mean I can only get 0.0005mb, but you say 20mb.....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sky Internet Services

    Sky Internet Services, making it easier to read your e-mails

  13. adam payne Silver badge

    "Sequences shortened" springs to mind.

  14. Badvok


    Is this the same ASA that allows things to be advertised as 'Free' when you actually need to part with money to get them?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just as well

    That the ASA isn't a regulator, isn't it?

    Hint: It's not.

    It's a trade association and the only recourse they actually have if an advertiser tells them go go whistle is to "make recommendations" to its members and escalate the case to OFT or Trading Standards.

    Of course when that happens, the ASA don't make a big song and dance about how great they are.

    Personal experience, after being repeatedly spammed on $orkplace addresses by a certain London nightclub. ASA intervention achieved nothing whatsoever. They're still spamming and the ASA's response after the third round was to pretend the case didn't exist anymore.

  16. b166er

    Ahhh BT.

    It's our network and we know it can't do what you're offering Sky, because it's shit.

    The majority of your customers can't be supplied that service because we're in the middle of a pointless willy-waving land-grab with Virgin Media, giving 10% of the country fibre broadband so we can advertise that we're competing with Virgin Media, whilst at the same time neglecting the rest of the network but still advertising Infinity in that remaining 90%.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

  17. Bootneck

    BT are crap to

    When we tried BT in our area we were promised by their sales staff "up to 10mps" I suppose 0.3mps comes within that remit but not the" not fit for purpose" remit now using a wireless internet provider who provides 8-10mps with no download limit.

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