Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


UK broadcasters warn plans to increase ad breaks will lead to “huge cut” in news coverage

A new report from COBA states that plans to allow more advertising on ITV and Channel 4 would result in 27.5 minutes of public service news coverage being lost every weekday,

The UK’s Association for Commerical Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA) has warned plans by Ofcom to change the rules around advertising on TV will impact news broadcasts.

commercial br or the equivalent of 115 hours per year.

The proposed changes would see an increase in the total amount of advertising on PSBs of up to 48 minutes a day on each channel – amounting to more than eight hundred hours a year of more adverts – which would have a significant impact on commercial revenues across the broadcasting sector, as well as threaten the viability of smaller commercial channels, potentially undermining media plurality, added the report.

It suggests broadcasters would be forced to place more adverts around the news, as it would be the only time TV channels could add the extra advertising minutes. ITV1’s level of advertising around news could nearly triple in peak times (from around 9.5 minutes to 26 minutes), states the report, while Channel 4 could increase adverts from around one minute per hour currently to 12 minutes.

COBA executive director Adam Minns said Ofcom was not taking account of evidence to show the proposed changes are damaging for the industry and not welcomed by viewers. “We are vehemently opposed to these proposals from Ofcom,” he said. “These proposals are ill-thought-out and unnecessary and are not even supported by all public service broadcasters. The result will be to erode the most important aspect of the public service broadcasting system: news.

“Ofcom should be protecting audiences and news programming, not suggesting changes that puts news at risk or harm the viewing experience.”

COBA said it will submit the report to Ofcom.