Under the "Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising" (COSTA) rules, the channel is only permitted to air 12 minutes of advertising per hour. RT was found to have breached the rules on 29 occasions, with nearly an extra minute of commercials airing during some hours. The breaches occurred during the first few weeks of its new UK opt containing UK-specific advertising which launched on the 20th September 2012.
a516digital reported that the channel had launched British advertising on the 21st September.
RT owners TV Novosti explained that RT "carried advertising for the first time with a view to gauging audience reaction rather than commercial gain." TV Novosti said that upon receiving Ofcom’s request for comments, it immediately began an investigation into how the clock hours in question could have contained more than the permitted allowance.
TV Novosti discovered that the automation software had not been correctly configured to flag potential minutage breaches; it attributed this oversight to the Moscow-based engineers who had no previous experience of managing commercial limits.
Despite TV Novosti's support in helping Ofcom with its investigations, Ofcom found that the 29 breaches could not be ignored and found the service guilty of breaching COSTA rule 4. Ofcom will continue to observe compliance on this matter carefully.
Meanwhile, TV Novosti confirmed that it would in future broadcast seven minutes of advertising an hour in the future on RT.