MEPs under pressure over ad restriction

ITV representatives meet MEPs in Strasbourg this week to persuade them to overturn a European Parliament decision to reduce the number of ad breaks allowed in televised feature films.

The parliament’s culture committee began voting last week on 250 amendments to the revised broadcasting directive. By Friday, the immediate threat to children’s advertising on TV had been averted. However, concerns remain, says ITV European affairs head Sue Eustace.

The movie minutage amendment will lead to a cut in the number of breaks allowed during films, Eustace adds. Under existing rules, a break is allowed after the first 45 minutes, a second break is allowed at 90 minutes and a third after 110. Calculations are based on the duration of the televised film, including ad breaks.

However, the amendment voted in last week will calculate the duration of a film excluding ad breaks. “This will reduce the running time and so cut the number of ad breaks allowed,” she explains.

A proposed ban on breaks in the middle of children’s programmes and on sponsorship during children’s TV was turned down.

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