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Viacom, ABC Family Agree to Pay FCC Fine

Oct 21, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Viacom and ABC Family have agreed to pay $1 million and $500,000, respectively, as part of consent decrees ending Federal Communications Commission investigations into whether the companies violated the agency’s children’s TV regulations on their cable TV networks for kids last year.

Under the FCC’s children’s TV rules, television programming for children is not supposed to include more than 10½ minutes of advertising per hour on weekends or more than 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.

Ads for products associated with the children’s shows are also specifically barred. But in the wake of an FCC investigation, Viacom conceded that its Nickelodeon network ran afoul of the regulations hundreds of times last year. For its part, ABC Family conceded airing commercials for products associated with children’s TV shows on 31 half-hour episodes on the ABC Family Channel. According to the FCC, both companies said the violations were inadvertent. Said FCC Chairman Michael Powell in a statement: “The consent decrees entered into today will not only help protect children who watch these cable channels but will have a much broader impact.

All cable operators, DBS providers, commercial television broadcasters and companies that provide children’s programming should know that we will vigorously enforce our children’s advertising limits. We will continue to take swift and appropriate enforcement action to protect the interests of children.”