Ofcom hunts policy chief for high-profile issues

Ofcom is looking for a head of commercial policy to lead a number of high-profile issues the media regulator is tackling in TV and radio broadcasting.

The regulator, which earlier this month confirmed former chief operating officer Ed Richards as chief executive, is believed to have given a headhunting firm the task of carrying out the search. A number of senior personnel at advertising agencies, consultancies and media owners are known to have been contacted by it.

The successful candidate will lead Ofcom’s policy team within its contents and standards division, which is working on the controversial regulation of broadcast food advertising to children.

The candidate will also lead the media watchdog’s work on modifying the contracts rights renewal (CRR) remedy, should the Office of Fair Trading decide such a review is necessary, and develop policy on the future funding of broadcast production including sponsorship and product placement.

Other issues Ofcom is following closely include legislative changes surrounding the EU’s ongoing review of its Television Without Frontiers directive and the rise of transactional channels on TV, such as gaming and shopping stations.

Whoever takes up the post will report to Kate Stross, content and standards director of content.

Ofcom’s board has been in meetings this week to discuss key policy recommendations surrounding the review of television advertising of junk food and are expected to reject a blanket ban.

It follows concerns raised by health lobby group Sustain last week that Ofcom was biased towards the food and advertising industries (MW last week). The group hit out after Ofcom published research showing the public did not support a total ban. Ofcom’s final ruling is expected this autumn.

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