Watchdog signals intention to deregulate TV ad sales

Ofcom starts consultation on ad sales rules for public service broadcasters.

ITV: Welcomes Ofcom’s proposed review of advertising rules
ITV: Welcomes Ofcom’s proposed review of advertising rules

Ofcom is to begin a consultation regarding further deregulation of advertising sales rules on commercial television broadcasters.

Ofcom’s draft Annual Plan for this year proposes reviewing the airtime sales rules, which were retained following the last review in 2003 when Carlton and Granada merged to create ITV plc.

It will look at whether commercial broadcasters should still be restricted in the way they sell advertising, including the requirement that public service broadcasters (PSBs) ITV, Channel 4 and Five sell all their advertising minutes. PSBs would like to control the amount of ad minutes they make available to allow them to raise prices.

Ofcom hopes any changes can be published in the autumn, when broadcasters and advertising buyers negotiate terms for the next 12 months, and brought into effect from 1 January 2011.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards says: “Ofcom is committed to reducing its regulatory burdens. If regulations have no public interest then they should be removed.”

The television watchdog plans to publish the consultation over the next few months.

An ITV spokesman says: “ITV welcomes Ofcom’s proposed review of the advertising sales and scheduling rules.”

The Conservative Party has already signalled it will look at the role and remit of Ofcom if it gains power at the General Election.



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