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Ofcom changes rules for TV adverts

02 сентября 2008

Ofcom has relaxed restrictions on television advertising to make commercial breaks less disruptive for viewers and more lucrative for broadcasters.

Broadcasters are no longer required to leave 20-minute gaps between breaks within programmes, and can show one more break in a typical movie broadcast.

But prospects for an overall increase in advertising are diminishing.

Stewart Purvis, partner for content and standards at Ofcom, the communications regulator, said the previous rules annoyed viewers by encouraging advertisers to bunch breaks together. The 20-minute rule was designed to avoid frequent interruptions, but saw broadcasters insert breaks shortly after the start and near the end of an hour-long programme.

He said the new rules would allow flexibility for broadcasters to schedule breaks “more sympathetically to the way the programme is edited and cut”. Mr Purvis explained: “Anecdotally, viewers like time to get into the programme and the plot of a drama before the first break.”

Channels showing films can now show commercials every 30 minutes, rather than the previous rule of 45-minute intervals. The changes were designed to help “sustain films and film channels, and help people see more and better of them”, said Mr Purvis.

Further tweaks to advertising rules removed restrictions dating back to the 1950s on commercials in half-hour long documentaries, current affairs and religious programming that Ofcom felt “may discourage broadcasters from scheduling such programmes”.

The changes took effect on Monday, but may not be noticeable immediately as programmes are edited well in advance of broadcast.

A second phase of Ofcom’s review of advertising regulation will look at the amount of advertising on television. Mr Purvis said: “We heard loud and clear from broadcasters, advertisers and viewers that they didn’t see any benefits in an increase in overall advertising.” Ofcom will publish a consultation in the autumn.

Источник: Financial Times

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