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Watchdog questions Airtel’s DTH ads

business Updated: Jan 10, 2010 21:16 IST
Anita Sharan
Anita Sharan
Hindustan Times
Advertising Standards Council of India

The Advertising Standards Council of India, which is an industry watchdog that monitors exaggerated or misleading claims in ads, has upheld a complaint by direct-to-home (DTH) broadcaster Tata Sky against a couple of advertising commercials from rival Bharti Airtel’s DTH business that claimed better picture clarity than any other service because of some technologies it is using.

But the ruling is not final because Airtel DTH, which ran two ads claiming, “Picture so clear that you catch every detail,” is contesting the claim.

Vikram Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky, told Hindustan Times that ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council upheld his company’s objection. “MPEG4 is a data compression technology that can pack in more content within a bandwidth and DVB-S2 is a satellite transmission standard. Neither have anything to do with picture clarity,” he said.

ASCI declined to comment on its ruling pending a final call because it gives 15 days to the concerned advertiser to respond and the process is still on.

However, Ajai Puri, director and CEO — DTH, Bharti Airtel, said his company was not wrong because it had compared its digital service with traditional analog signals and a response had been sent to ASCI.

“We have talked in the advertising about various things, including MPEG4 and DVB-S2, which we’ve said deliver greater picture clarity as against ordinary technology that includes analog transmission as well,” he said.

He insisted the ads were not withdrawn because of the ASCI query.