NARB: DirecTV Agrees to Modify Future Ad Claims

A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has asked DirecTV to modify its advertising claims of 4K content availability to better convey the limited nature of that availability, clarify its price claim, modify claims that DirecTV is "wireless," and discontinue its claim of a "free upgrade to Genie HD DVR." DirecTV has said it will voluntarily comply in future advertising, according to NARB.

The recommendations of the NARB, which is overseen by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, are not findings of wrongdoing.

Charter challenged the ad claims before the council's National Advertising Division, which had made most of the recommendations ultimately upheld by NARB.

Charter had challenged the specific ad claims:

• “DIRECTV has 4K, the best picture format available.”

• “DIRECTV is wireless. So you can put your TVs anywhere without having to look at ugly wires and boxes in every room.”

• “Say goodbye to messy cable wires and boxes. Enjoy entertainment wirelessly on every TV in your home.”

• Advertised price of $19.99/month

• “FREE upgrade” to Genie HD DVR

While the NARB panel, the appellate unit of the council's ad self-regulation, upheld most of the NAD recommendations, it did not agree that the remedy for the 4K ad should be that DirecTV had to explain the developing nature of 4K and that the supply of 4K content was limited. NARB concluded that "reasonable consumers, who have already experienced many technological advances including the transition from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) television, will understand the nature of developing technologies and the fact that 4K is a relatively new technology."

It said DirecTV should only have to “clearly and simply convey that limited programming is available in 4K.”

NARB agreed that DirecTV needed to make it clearer that its $19.99 monthly charge was a minimum programming charge and that there were additional costs for required equipment.

It also said the "wireless" claim needed to more clearly explain what device was wireless.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.