Last Thursday the UK's Office of Communications (Ofcom) published a new Code on the scheduling of television advertisements. This revision, said to be shorter and simpler than its predecessor, follows changes to the European framework of advertising regulation as set out in the Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS).
The new rules, which you can access here, come into force on 1 September 2008.
Right: the IPKat surfs the channels in search of his favourite advertisements ...
According to Ofcom, the new Code makes no changes to the amount of TV advertising or the number of advertising breaks in most programmes. The main changes are as follows:
*the removal of rules that require a 20 minute interval between advertising breaks within programmes, a rule that annoyed viewers by forcing the first and last breaks to be scheduled very close to the beginning and end of some programmes;
* broadcasters may now transmit one advertising break for every 30 minutes of a film, instead of one for every 45 minutes;
* there will no longer be any restrictions on advertising breaks in documentaries, current affairs programmes and religious affairs programmes.
The IPKat has taken a little look at the Code, which seems to him to be almost as brand-friendly as a TV advertising code can be. He feels that the truth of the matter is that the person watching the TV has a split personality. So far as programme-makers are concerned, he is a viewer -- to be educated, amused, entertained and stimulated. But to the advertiser he is a consumer -- to be won over and converted into a goodwill-driven income stream. It is the watcher's desire to be a viewer that makes him literally a sitting target for the advertiser. Merpel adds, as the advertising media become more fragmented in the Web 2.0 era, mass TV advertising will only remain relevant for brands relating to goods and services for which every viewer is a potential customer (eg food, financial services); perhaps these mega-brands, if not yet given endangered species' status, need the special degree of nurture which an advertiser-friendly code bestows upon them.