UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom says rules that limit the number of adverts on ITV 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are no longer justified or proportionate.
Rules limiting the number of adverts on what are now known as commercial public service channels were put in place 30 years ago.
Back then, the difference was between cable and satellite services which had greater freedom and two terrestrial channels carrying a restricted number of adverts.
The two terrestrial channels (your local ITV station and either Channel 4 or S4C) could command greater fees for ad time due to their vastly larger reach.
Three decades later and with every household able to receive a variety of channels, Ofcom has indicated it’s time for change.
Following a call for evidence last year, Ofcom has now launched a consultation on two possible options:
- to make the rules between PSB and non-PSB channels the same; or
- to make them the same, except for the difference in the number of internal breaks permitted in programmes.
Ofcom prefers the second option, which would maintain different rules regarding how often a programme on ITV 1, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C and STV could be interrupted with adverts.
Although not its proposed approach, Ofcom says it “remains open to the possibility of making no changes, keeping the rules as they are”.
Alongside considering existing quantitative research, Ofcom commissioned new research to explore the potential audience impact of changes to its rules.
The consultation runs until 31st May 2023.
PICTURED: Ofcom/ITV 1/STV/Channel 4/Channel 5 logos. COPYRIGHT: Ofcom/ITV plc/STV Group/Channel 4 Television Corporation/Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd.