Airtel DTH ad misleading, Tata Sky tells ASCI

The Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI has concluded that Airtel’s advertisement is misleading, as the viewer of the TV commercial is led to believe that Airtel Digital TV has superior picture quality because of MPEG4 or DVBS2 technology

Direct-to-home (DTH) television services provider Tata Sky has approached the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) seeking action against its competitor Airtel Digital's ad campaign, alleging that the advertisement was misleading, reports PTI.

The campaign 'Dil Titli', starring Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, was launched in August 2009 by Bharti Airtel's DTH subsidiary and the ad claimed that the service provided superior picture quality because of Moving Picture Experts Group-standard 4 (MPEG4) and Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite-Second Generation (DVBS2) technologies.

"We are trying to convince the media and the public at large that the claim that MPEG4 technology provides superior picture quality is false. It is just a compression technology and makes no difference to the picture quality," said Tata Sky chief marketing officer Vikram Mehra.

The ASCI, in a reply to Tata Sky's complaint, said, "As per their (Consumer Complaints Council - CCC) decision, the complaint has been upheld as the advertisement contravened Chapter 1.4 of the ASCI code. The CCC concluded that the advertisement is misleading, as the viewer of the TV commercial is led to believe that Airtel Digital TV has superior picture quality because of MPEG4 or DVBS2."

When contacted, an Airtel Digital spokesperson said, "We did receive some correspondence from ASCI and we have responded to that. Our stand is that MPEG4 and DVBS2 are some of the many features that we offer, that helps us offer superior picture quality in comparison to ordinary technology."

ASCI is a self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry and deals with consumer and industry complaints against advertisements.

MPEG-4 is a patented collection of methods defining compression of audio and visual (AV) digital data, while DVB-S2 is a second generation standard directed to optimise satellite transmission and reception of digital content.

DTH operators in the country use different compression technologies ranging from MPEG2 to MPEG4 to provide digital television signals to consumers through satellite. Compression technologies determine a service provider's number of channels to consumers, but have no impact on video quality.

Airtel Digital, which was launched in October 2008, now has pan-Indian operations.

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