Playboy has been fined £100,000 [$160,450 USD] after it failed to protect children from potentially harmful pornographic material.
Ofcom said Playboy TV and Demand Adult, both owned by Playboy, allowed access to ‘hardcore videos and images’ and did not have acceptable controls in place to check users were aged 18 or over.
The regulator concluded that Playboy’s failure to protect children from potentially accessing the sites was ‘serious, repeated and reckless’.
It said the homepage of Demand Adult displayed hardcore pornographic material that could be viewed by clicking on a button labeled ‘Enter I am over 18’.
Users could also access more paid-for content with a debit card.
Neither of the controls constituted an effective age verification system, Ofcom said.
Playboy TV also asked users to self-certify their age before entering the main site but, unlike Demand Adult, the material on the home page showed sexual activity without explicit detail.
Users could also access this website’s hardcore pornographic material by registering using a debit card.
Again, neither system was effective at verifying age, the regulator concluded.
The websites are regulated by Ofcom and the Authority for Video on Demand (ATVOD) – unlike other pornographic websites – because they provide access to videos in a similar way to adult services broadcast on television and fall within UK jurisdiction.
Due to the ‘serious nature of these breaches’, Playboy was fined £65,000 [$104,290 USD] in relation to Demand Adult and £35,000 [$56,000 USD] for Playboy TV.
Ofcom said effective age controls included asking for the details of a credit card, which are not available to under-18s.