As rules are reviewed, TV ads could be longer

As part of an Ofcom review, advertising breaks on UK TV channels could become longer and more frequent.

As rules are reviewed, TV ads could be longer

As part of an Ofcom review, advertising breaks on UK TV channels could become longer and more frequent.

Ofcom stated that the frequency and length advertising will be reviewed in light of changing viewing habits and increased use of streaming services.

Before making any changes, the regulator promised to listen to all viewpoints and to examine what viewers have to say.

It was previously stated that ads can be disruptive to viewing.

Current regulations by the regulator state that channels 3 to 5 must have no more than seven minutes of advertising per hour.

The channels can air advertising breaks lasting up to eight minutes during prime-time periods between 18:00 and 23:00 and 07:00 to 09:00.

Other channels can broadcast up to nine minutes worth of advertising per hour, plus three more minutes for teleshopping.

A spokesperson for Ofcom stated that the regulator had to strike the right balance between the protection of viewers' rights and the preservation of traditional broadcasters when discussing the review.

In an Ofcom report to Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries mentioned the review of advertising frequency and length in relation to channel three and five's PSB licences.

According to the report, "We are also examining the rules that determine the frequency and duration of advertising on broadcast television."

These rules are complicated, and the public service broadcasters have to adhere to stricter rules than commercial broadcasters.

"We have already had preliminary discussions with stakeholders and will be able to outline our next steps in the summer."

Channel three, also known as ITV/STV, and Channel 5 are privately owned and paid for by advertising.

Their licences for public service broadcasting are set to expire in 2024. However, Ofcom informed Ms Dorries that it believes there is a good case to renew both licenses.

Ofcom will regulate subscription streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ for the first time. This is a move that traditional broadcasters have long requested.

Ofcom's previous research has shown that older viewers "often prefer to record content in a series so they can skip the advertisements"; while younger viewers expressed frustration with the quantity of ads.

A spokesperson for Ofcom stated that they are currently evaluating a variety of options. However, before making any decisions, they will listen to the views of different people and look at what viewers have to say.

"We must strike the right balance between protecting viewers’ interests and supporting our traditional broadcasters. This includes helping them compete against American streaming platforms."

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