Advanced Television

Ofcom axes plans to relax PSB ad rules

September 19, 2023

Following a period of consultation, Ofcom has announced that it will not remove the stricter TV advertising rules that apply only to commercially-funded public service broadcasters at this time.

All UK broadcasters are subject to restrictions on the quantity and scheduling of advertising on their channels. But the commercial public service broadcasting (PSB) channels – ITV, STV, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5 – are subject to tighter advertising restrictions than non-PSB commercial channels, such as ITV2, 5USA and Pick.

Ofcom said: “While we remain of the view that there may be merit in harmonising TV advertising rules by relaxing the additional restrictions on PSBs, we have decided to retain the status quo for the time being.”

“In reaching this decision, we recognised that the potential benefits to audiences, public service broadcasters and the wider market are uncertain. We also took into account that proceeding would mean that viewers would be likely to see increased advertising in ‘peak’ evening hours which contain news. This in turn could lead to a reduction in news minutes, which risks diminishing a particularly important genre of PSB content with high societal value. Instead, we consider it appropriate to consider the impact of changes to TV advertising rules on viewers in the broader context of other changes to the PSB system in the coming years – including the implementation of the Media Bill,” added the media regulator.

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