Hunt, who was the Conservative’s Shadow Culture Secretary and is MP for South West Surrey, replaces Ben Bradshaw and also takes on the responsibilities of Tessa Jowell, who was the Olympics Minister.
The move comes as the coalition government announces it will conduct a full spending review that will report in the autumn, following a fully consultative process involving all tiers of government and the private sector. Marketing spend will be included in this review.
Hunt has previously written for Marketing Week laying out his plans for the TV industry
In his piece, he explained that the Conservatives believe that regulatory body Ofcom should not be involved in strategy, saying: “We want Ofcom to regulate. And we want Government to make policy. Although this would appear obvious it is actually a radical departure from the current situation. We want an open and transparent BBC, a regulator that concentrates on regulating, and a commercial sector free to adapt to the digital world.”
Speaking to sister title New Media Age, Hunt has also promised that a Conservative government will ensure a light-touch regulatory environment to enable digital media businesses to thrive
These include encouraging self-regulation, ensuring the BBC doesn’t have a negative impact on the online commercial market, supporting a new structure for online copyright and IP, ensuring privacy concerns don’t throttle commercial models, and creating an environment attractive to the world’s most innovative digital media companies. In the past, he has also said that Britain is stuck in the broadband “superhighway slow lane”.
In 2008, when The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) muddled its understanding of Olympic sponsorship, which led it to promise £100m in private sector money, he said “One shudders to think what other basic miscalculations will come to light.”
Pressures that Hunt will face from marketers will include ITV calling for the new government to push for the Contract Rights Renewal (CRR) advertising sales rules to be scrapped, after the Competition Commission announced it had decided to keep them in place earlier this morning.
Seperately, government departments will be bracing themselves for cuts to their marketing budgets as part of the new arrangements.
Prior to the election, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both vowed to slash Government spending on advertising and marketing to 1997 levels in real terms.
Despite agreement on the need to cut Government spending on marketing budgets, the Tories and Liberal Democrats do not see eye to eye on how to tackle irresponsible marketing to children, which would be overseen by Hunt.
The Tories favour setting up a website for parents to complain about “sexualised” products aimed at children, while the Liberal Democrats want to work more closely with existing regulatory bodies to ensure that children are protected.
In the past the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has taken issue with the Conservative’s proposal.
At the time, the body’s director general Hamish Pringle said: “Cameron’s idea of a “specially set-up website” would pull the rug out from under the ASA and is clearly ill-thought-out. We’re very concerned about his proposal that agencies that have had a complaint against one of their advertisements on the grounds of sexualisation should be banned from bidding for Government contracts for three years. This smacks of double jeopardy since the agency would already have been penalised by having its ad withdrawn by the ASA at considerable cost to them and their client.”
On 25 May, the Queen’s Speech is due to set out the government’s priorities during the parliament. The full cabinet list can be found on the Number 10 website here.