Lord Bragg warns that children ad ban could affect quality

Broadcaster and Labour peer Lord Bragg has warned that children’s programming could suffer if television advertising to children is banned.

Bragg told Marketing Week that eight- to 14-year-olds need to be protected from aggressive advertising, but programmes would inevitably suffer if a total ban was introduced.

He was due to address a fringe meeting on media funding at this week’s Labour Party Conference organised by the Advertising Association, which is launching an ad campaign to promote the industry.

He says: “We live in the real world. If there isn’t enough money to support these programmes then the quality will probably suffer.”

While fiercely defending programme makers’ editorial freedom, Bragg highlights the role of advertising in funding an independent and diverse media.

He says: “Advertising and television have a great deal in common. They are both trying to reach audiences through films. They are both trying to maximise audiences through films.

“Advertising’s purpose is obviously to show the advantages of a particular product, but the broad aims are basically the same. I’d like to get away from the idea that we are in opposition.”

Bragg believes there has been a shift in the broadcasting industry’s attitude to advertising since the BBC started carrying ads for its own programmes and advertising its networks on billboards.

He says: “Advertising has had a bad name in television because of the BBC.

“I think that has changed since the BBC started advertising its own programmes. There has been a silent revolution.”

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