The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint from Sky over a Virgin Media ad which claimed to offer the cheapest way to watch Setanta Sports.
Virgin Media's national press ad stated: 'If you don't want to know the cheapest way to get Setanta Sports, look away now.'
The promotion featured five 'bubbles', which compared the cost of Setanta Sports from different providers.
The ad implied that Virgin Media's was the cheapest deal, however small print added: 'Subject to network capacity, minimum term contract. Subscription to Virgin digital TV required.'
Sky complained to the ASA that Virgin Media's price comparison was unfair and misleading because Virgin Media had not compared like with like.
Sky pointed out that Virgin customers must subscribe to a Virgin Media TV package to receive Setanta Sports, and that these extra costs were not made clear in the ad.
Furthermore, Sky said that BT Vision, Freeview and satellite viewers could subscribe to and receive Setanta Sports on a month-by-month basis, whereas Virgin Media customers were obliged to commit to a 12-month contract.
Virgin Media responded by saying that the ad should have made clear that the 'cheapest' claim was based on a comparison of the listed companies over a 12-month period and that, on that basis, Virgin was the cheapest provider.
The firm also highlighted that all providers have other associated costs with receiving Setanta Sports, either with subscription and/or connections fees or for hardware.
The ASA upheld Sky's complaints saying that, although it understood that Virgin had intended to convey the cost of Setanta to consumers in addition to any package obligations they were already subject to, readers would infer from the ad that, on a month by month basis, Virgin was able to provide Setanta Sports at a cheaper rate than any other provider.
The watchdog concluded that the comparison was fair but misleading and has warned Virgin Media not to imply in future ads that it offers the cheapest way to receive Setanta Sports.
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