Ofcom calls for evidence as pressure mounts to loosen PSB ad rules

Ofcom’s HQ

UK media regulator Ofcom has issued a call for evidence to help it decide whether there needs to be a change in the rules governing the amount of advertising that can e shown on the country’s public service broadcast channels.

UK broadcasters are subject to restrictions on how much advertising they can show on their channels, and when they show it.

However, under rules introduced over 30 years ago, the UK’s public service broadcasters – ITV, STV, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5 – are subject to tighter advertising restrictions than non-PSB channels.

In the preamble to its call for evidence, the watchdog noted that there is now a much wider range of non-PSB channels as well as on-demand television and online streaming services, than when the current rules were introduced.

Ofcom, which is under pressure to loosen advertising restrictions placed on PSBs, said it would carefully consider all responses and supporting evidence, including the opinions of TV viewers.

Currently commercial PSBs are restricted to seven minutes of advertising per hour with a minute extra allowed in primetime.

Other commercial broadcasters are allowed up to nine minutes per hour or longer in the case of teleshopping channels.

An Ofcom report on the future of Channels Three and Five, whose licences are due for renewal in 2024, highlighted the complexity of current rules .

The deadline for responses to the call for evidence is October 7.

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