Nearly a tenth of new commercials in first half of 2021 related to coronavirus

Published: 30 September 2021

Between January and June, 253 of the almost three thousand new commercials reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic – reveals the new study approved at the meeting of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) this week. The Council opened proceedings against the service providers of RTL and TV2 for the violation of age-rating regulations. The body approved of the latest report on accessibility which showed that 99.8% accessibility of televisions was achieved in the previous six months.

In first half of 2021 nearly a tenth of new commercials was concerned with the coronavirus

The panel adopted a new study on the television practice of first-run commercials linked to the coronavirus in the first half of the year, as the new pandemic situation transformed the advertising market. Television channels broadcast a total of 3051 new commercials between 1 January and 30 June, more than 8% (253) of which reacted to COVID-19. Most of these spots were aired on Hír TV (25) with Cool (24) and TV2 (20) in the second and third places. More than fifth of the commercials promoted products, services or behaviour to stop the spread of the virus and to cure the disease, such as wearing masks, non-prescription medicinal products, disinfectants, tests. The second place was occupied by products or services which are available for viewers at any time, but this time the message focused on the pandemic, for instance smart Wi-Fi for working from home, online banking or contactless delivery. Of the commercials analysed, 67.5% promoted services, 24.1% advertised products and 5.5% the advertiser's image. The most frequent advertisers were the retail and pharmaceutical sectors (48.6% and 13% respectively). The document in Hungarian is available here: A Covid-19-hez kapcsolható, első alkalommal bemutatott reklámszpotok közzétételi gyakorlata a televízióknál (2021. január–június)

Television accessibility reached 99.8% in the previous six months.

The Media Council approved and published on its website its latest study on television accessibility. In it, the NMHH looked at how and to what extent the six national public service and two large commercial television broadcasters helped their hearing-impaired viewers in the first half of 2021. In the nearly 5,200 hours surveyed, around 88% of the programmes were accessible - 88.7% for public service television and 78.5% for commercial television. Service providers met 99.8 per cent of the mandatory accessibility requirements set out in the Media Act, but there were still problems with content, such as the complete lack of subtitles or inaccurate content, and frequent misspellings and typos.

Decisions of the Media Council

The body launched an official investigation against the service providers of RTL and TV2 on the basis of a complaint that the channels broadcast programmes with too lenient age-ratings in July and August. At the former, an episode of Házasodna a gazda, which aired after 8pm, and at the latter the morning programme entitled Csapdába csalva should probably have been rated Not suitable under the age of 16 instead of 12.

The council investigated several programmes based on complaints, but did not open a procedure in these cases. There was no violation of the law in the June episode of the programme entitled Fórum broadcast on the Magyar ATV, as the law does not prohibit the host of a debate show from expressing his or her opinions and views. Sajtóklub, a programme of Hír TV did not include exclusion or the violation of human dignity in the discussion on the situation in Afghanistan. The article published on in August entitled Nem, nem lesz rózsaszín turul a Szent István-napi ünnepségen (No, there will be no pink Turul at the St. Stephen's Day celebrations) was also not exclusionary. Although the complainant objected to comments that were not covered by the media regulation, the Media Council also examined the article itself and found no unlawful content.

The Media Council has closed a new case against ÉPI-TECH Magazine for the publication of surreptitious advertising. In the April broadcast of Makói Városi TV and its reruns, additional advertising information about the services and products of an architectural company were presented, highlighting positive features, which is considered illegal, and the Media Council warned the media service provider against this illegal behaviour.

Decisions about radio frequency tenders

The Media Council approved the request of the operator to connect all of Karc FM Média Kft.’s frequency rights outside Budapest with its frequency right for Budapest 95.3 MHz.

The Council requested clarifications from Roma Rádió Kft. in the context of the formal review of the tender submitted for the community use of the Budapest 100.3 MHz regional frequency, while in the tender procedure for the community use of the Székesfehérvár 106.6 MHz local frequency, it called on Karc FM Média Kft., the sole tenderer, to submit missing and additional information.