Another former WB affiliate has fallen victim to the GameBoy E-reader ad.
The latest is WPIX(TV) New York, which the FCC says has to pay a $15,000 fine for violating its limits on TV advertising in kids shows eight times. Including in those eight violationg is six program-length commercials, five of which involved the Pokemon E-Reader ad.
The FCC has fined several stations tens of thousands of dollars for violations that included the Pokemon ad, which aired back in 2002 during a show that no longer exists--Pokemon--on a network that no longer exists--The WB.
The FCC says that the appearance of a cartoon character in an advertisement that runs during a show that features that character, turns the whole show into an ad.. Since shows are about 22 minutes long and kids shows can have no more than 12 minutes of ads in an entire hour--10.5 on weekends--that becomes a major overage and, in the FCC's view, a serious violation.
In response to the finding, WPIX argued, as have several stations before it, that the appearance of the Pokemon character lasted less than a second and only included the letters "mon" on one of six fanned cards, with the Pokemon character not appearing at all or named in the audio. WPIX also used the argument, also tried before to no avail, that the FCC's ruling that a fleeting "Fuck Cops" sign on Amazing Race was not indecent was precedential.
The FCC was not convinced, saying "we believe that, in the context of the cognitive abilities of young children, there is the potential for confusion between the GameBoy commercial and the “Pokemon” program regardless whether any “Pokemon” character is depicted given the image of a “Pokemon” game card contained in the commercial and the consequent likelihood that children may associate it with the program."
The FCC also said, once again, that the indecency decision was not on point because it did not deal with "the co-mingling of program content and commercial matter."
The FCC has a benchmark of $10,000 for kids TV ad violations, which it can adjust up or down. It went up this time, citing the number of program-length commercials.