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Ofcom consults on important changes to its TV advertising rules

On 18 July, Ofcom published a consultation document proposing important changes to the TV advertising rules, including in particular as to the way in which programme length is measured for the purposes of determining the amount of permitted advertising. These changes are particularly relevant to broadcasters of children’s programmes and reflect wider concerns that investment in such programming is falling and the advertising regime needs to be sensitive to such developments.

In addition, Ofcom is examining amendments to the definitions of certain core terms within its advertising rules together with a general reformulation of the structure of those rules.

European law, specifically the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS), sets out minimum standards in relation to the content and scheduling of television advertising in the European Union. These standards include stipulations as to the duration and frequency of advertisements permitted to be broadcast and depend on factors including genre and the type of channel. Ofcom, as the UK regulator responsible for the communications industries, implements these standards via the Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising (COSTA). COSTA came into force in 2008 and since that date it has been subject to periodic reviews and consultations in relation to specific issues, for example the 2010 review of the rules relating to product placement…

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